[Strategies for Success - Smart fundraising ideas from Hartsook]

February 21, 2017

Storytelling and the Fine Art of Major Gift Fundraising

imageSome clients find it hard to ask for gifts - even clients with a good list of prospective donors. One such client had plenty of prospects, but when I asked how things were going, they always had same excuse: "We don't feel ready to ask them for a gift."

It became clear that they needed to see how it's done.

Connect your story to the donor's story
Ask questions and listen intently and intuitively. "Where are you from?" "How did you get involved in your profession?" Their feedback offers insights. Don't force a conversation, but follow a natural, genuine thread. Find out where your lives intersect and make the "small world" connections.

Connect their story to the organization's story
"Tell me how you became involved with the organization?" This is usually followed by great stories of what they love most. As long as they are saying positive things about the organization, resist the urge to chime in. Let them talk the organization up, rather than feeling the need to do so.

Weave these stories into an ask
Use their words, stories and meaningful feelings to segue into the ask. "You're right. This is a great organization with an important mission. I would like you to consider making an investment in the mission with a gift of $50,000." Then remain silent, as long as necessary. The donor must be the next one to speak.

From my question, "Where are you from?" I was able to make a connection: I had helped the prospect's alma mater in another state with their successful campaign. We knew several of the same people. Within 20 minutes, I had made the ask and, ultimately, received the gift.

I could have spent an hour talking about the organization and trying to convince the donor what a smart and interesting fundraiser I was. Instead, I asked questions, listened and the organization received a major gift simply because I connected stories before making the ask.

Bud Cooper, Executive Vice President (Kansas City) bud@hartsookcompanies.com

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logoJoin Us on the Growing Philanthropy Tour

Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook's mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:

Scotland, U.K.
February 20-22, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Washington, D.C.
March 21, 2017

Federal Trade Commission & National Association of State Charities
Give & Take: Consumers, Contributions, and Charity Conference
Adrian Sargeant

Chicago
March 27, 2017

National School Foundation Association Conference
How to Retain Your Donors and Build Their Loyalty for Lifetime Giving
Karin Cox

Chicago
March 28, 2017

National School Foundation Association Conference
Thinking Big (Even if Your Nonprofit is Small):
Major Gifts and Legacy Giving
Lead Roundtable: Karin Cox

Kansas City
April 2-5, 2017

Association of Fundraising Professionals Mid-America Chapter
Demystifying Capital Campaigns
Matt Beem

Kansas City
April 4, 2017

Association of Jewish Aging Services
Demystifying Capital Campaigns
Matt Beem

French Lick, Ind.
April 5-7, 2017

Boy Scouts of America
2017 Central Region All Hands Conference

San Francisco
April 30 - May 2, 2017

AFP International Fundraising Conference
Successful Fundraising Events: Just What Does It Take to Be Best in Class
Adrian Sargeant

Dallas
May 10-12, 2017

Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Conference
Relationship Fundraising 2.0
Adrian Sargeant

London
May 23-24, 2017

Third Sector's Annual Fundraising Conference
Thinking Outside the Box: Everything You Wanted to Know about Donor Behaviour
Adrian Sargeant

Houston
June 9, 2017

AFP Houston Chapter
Adrian Sargeant

New Orleans
June 15, 2017

New Orleans Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference
Adrian Sargeant

London
July 4, 2017

IoF Fundraising Convention 2017
Great Fundraising Events
Adrian Sargeant

Richmond, Va.
July 19-20, 2017

Virginia Fund Raising Institute
Innovating Philanthropy
Karin Cox
John Warren
Presenting Sponsor: Hartsook

Tulsa
August 2, 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Massive Fundraising
Adrian Sargeant

Oklahoma City
August 2017

Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Relationship Building: Where Do We Go From Here?
Adrian Sargeant

Scotland, U.K.
October 23-25, 2017

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass
Adrian Sargeant

Scotland, U.K.
February 7-9, 2018

Alan Clayton Associates
Great Fundraising Masterclass

Past Stops on the Tour


Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle

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Book Deal of the Monthimage

In Nobody Wants to Give Money Away! (ASR Media), Hartsook Chair Bob Hartsook, details his nine principles for raising major gifts, starting with, "Nobody wants to give away money." Learn the principles that helped him raise billions of dollars. Go here for a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).


On the Web

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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, kcox@hartsookcompanies.com. If you'd like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact info@hartsookcompanies.com.

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