So what is it about asking people for money, especially large amounts of it, that sometimes brings success and other times brings nothing but indigestion? Is it luck, the alignment of the planets, the cost of bottled water?
During the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 49th International Conference on Fundraising, Laura Fredricks said that it was the quality of the conversation that landed the initial appointment, kept the engagement alive, made the ask easier, closed the gift earlier and shortened the time to return to someone who could not make the initial gift.
Fredericks said it was a matter of selecting the right words and delivering them at the right time that made all the difference, and she offered five tips for finding the right words:
- Know exactly what you want. Is it simply to make an appointment? To get to know them?
- Prepare the conversation. Focus, monitor, listen and mirror: tone, volume, word choice, reactions, timing.
- Deliver with confidence. Use vocal emphasis when using carefully selected words. Smile, even in an email or phone call.
- Clarify the results. Go back and use the words and phrases you both used to this point.
- Plan the next move. Focus on the patterns of how prospects communicate.