29th November 2015Alistair Lomax
Making the Ask – Closing the gift
Let the donor know that you have listened and absorbed their response, whilst keeping it conversational:
‘Just to make sure that I’ve got what you are saying, you’d like to consider making a gift towards and that you’d like to discuss with the family. Have I got that right?’
If they are to give serious consideration to the invitation then they will need time.
Every question is a buying signal. Be prepared to field questions. Don’t address all their concerns, but make it clear that you have listened and understood what they are saying.
You’ll be lucky if the gift is closed in one meeting. If they want more time, then propose a date, time and place for your next discussion. If they are ready to close the gift then you should be ready to note all relevant details and let them know that you will be in touch with a donor agreement:
• The level of the gift
• The purpose of the gift
• The duration of the gift (how many years?)
• Any conditions (e.g. naming or publicity)
• The details of any relevant advisers or administrative staff
At the end of the meeting close with a wrap up statement:
Thank the donor for their time and for listening to you and considering your invitation. Revisit the benefits. Confirm any questions that you couldn’t cover and agree a time by which you will get back to them.
Types of ‘close’
There are three kinds of close:
• Confirmation close – in which you reflect and confirm what has been agreed with the donor
• Presumptive close – in which you anticipate the donor’s wishes and propose terms
• Forced close – in which you are unsure about the donor’s response and want to push it to the next stage ‘if we do not hear from you then..’
As a general rule, it’s best to wait until the gift is received before any publicity or celebration.
Dealing with rejection – ‘no’
By preparing the ground and making sure that you know your donor intimately and that the ground is prepared and they are feeling fully engaged, then there is a good chance that they will consider making a gift. You might be working on a conversion rate of one ‘yes’ for six or seven ‘nos’.
With other forms of giving, for example direct mail, you’d be working on a much lower conversion rate.
Each ‘no’ – each rejection – is a step closer to a ‘yes. Agree a target conversation rate at the start. This will need to be shared with the board and colleagues so that expectations are realistic and you can work towards realistic returns.
This is the final part in our collectible series of Blogs on making the Ask. To review other blogs in the series of 8, please visit our website
Making the Ask is a core part of our Foundations in Philanthropy course. For further details click here or call Alistair on 07884 196423