Following Up Solicitations of Prospects — When The Campaign is (Almost) Over !!

Sections of this topic

    In every fund-raising campaign, toward the end of the drive, we always must address any number of proposals and presentations which were made seeking donations, but for which we’ve still not gotten a definitive response.

    We were not given a “Yes,” or a “No.” Mostly we were told, “I’ll let you know,” … or something like that. The books are closing. The campaign is at its end. What do we do to get a final answer from those key prospects?

    Following-up a presentation, especially that of of a major gifts proposal, looks for the most desired timing and process. The proposal was already made to a prospect, and the final decision is still pending. It usually starts with the “comfort level” of your association with the prospect which enables your instincts to tell you when and in what manner to proceed, so as not to be intrusive and annoying to the prospect.

    In specific terms, what you were told during the proposal presentation regarding decision making, possibly covers these three scenarios as the prospect:

    (1) Cited a duration of time, such as a few days, weeks, or even months, to an explicit calendar date, when they will make their decision known to you. (Remember, even though we want the funds “now,” it is still up to the donors to determine when it is best for them to give.)

    (2) Indicated they will think it over, and will let you know at the “appropriate” time.

    (3) Requested that you resubmit your request “at a later time.”

    Those three scenarios, and other variations, could be addressed at the appropriate time by utilizing one or combinations of the following:

    (A) Contact the prospect and simply and directly – and politely – seek their response. (Again, this is naturally dictated by the “comfort level” of your association.)

    (B) Telephone or send notes of appreciation for their thoughtful consideration of the request in the first place, and briefly cite again the main points of the campaign or project. Reiterate the applicable “named gift opportunity” or membership level related to their gift.

    (C) Initiate an “informational” follow-up contact, providing to your prospect up-to-date fundraising news and reports that would be bolstering and compelling. Talk about the encouraging results of the fundraising to-date, and remind them that they can be part of the eventual/public success.

    (D) Use the impending/looming end of the fundraising program — cite an imminent campaign deadline, the end of the fiscal year, that you are getting close to meeting the terms of a challenge grant, and that their commitment now will help ensure the campaign’s success.

    Remember, chances are good that you will not receive a cool reception regarding any “bother” you may think you would be causing. Just be polite, have no hint of crisis in your voice, and always show appreciation, even if you do not get the gift – or get less than you had asked. After all, they were considerate enough to give your request some degree of thought.

    Maybe Next Time !!

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