Once you’ve had a chance to meet with your donor and present your major gift pitch, it comes time to follow-up and close the donation. On rare occasions, your donor will be ready to commit on the spot, but usually, extra attention is needed.
Luckily, if you’ve identified the right prospect, built trust, presented your challenges and the ability to create impact, the final steps will often lead to success.
Here’s what you need to know as you advance the process with your major gift prospect.
Communicate routinely, in the way your donor prefers
You will leave your major gift prospect with a lot think about after a meeting. But with busy schedules, there will be times when other priorities get in the way and push your cause out of their minds.
Because of this, you should make sure you stay in contact with them on a regular basis, whether it is to see if they have any questions, would like to schedule another meeting, or are ready to make a commitment.
To keep your prospect happy, it’s important to learn what their communication preferences are. For example, do they prefer to be reached by phone or email? At home or at work? During the day or in the evening? You can track this information in your CRM and be sure to follow it when you reach out.
Look for signs of disinterest
Your routine calls or email will help to keep your organization at the top of your donor’s mind. Still, it’s always possible that they begin losing interest or leaning away from a donation. If this occurs with your prospect, you may notice them responding to you slower, postponing meetings or calls, or just sounding less enthusiastic each time you speak.
You will want to watch out for these signs so that you can attempt to alter the path before a final decision is made. If you sense your donor is losing interest, you can try to offer different giving options or introduce new members of your organization to the conversation. You can also consider pausing your regular communications for a few weeks, so that the discussion seems fresher when you reach out next.
Track every communication
It is important that your major donor prospect is made to feel special – and that his or her contribution will make a difference that could otherwise not occur.
If you have multiple members of your organization reaching out to the prospect, or many weeks passing between communications, it can be easy to forget what was discussed last and repeat questions or topics. That’s a sure way to make your prospect feel ordinary and just part of a process.
Your CRM should make it easy for you to log and track the details of each call, email, or meeting, so that the information is always handy before the next outreach.
Always try to push the conversation forward
If your donor prospect continues to show interest and excitement, you should aim to move closer to a commitment with every communication.
While you, of course, don’t want to seem ‘pushy’, your donor will realize that the ultimate goal of your time and attention is to secure a gift. You shouldn’t be shy to ask your donor, at the end of a call or meeting, if they are ready to commit, and if not, what other information you can provide to help them make a decision.
Finalize the major gift in person
Nowadays, we tend to complete most of our big purchases from our homes and offices. We can receive papers by email, scan and send them back with ease. If a payment is needed, we can provide our credit card or other banking details electronically as well.
Still, it goes without saying that a major donation is quite different than a major purchase. With an altruistic purpose, satisfaction for the donor comes from the feeling they get, rather than the benefits of the product they receive.
Major gift fundraisers can help the donor feel great about their decision to contribute by completing the donation process in person. There, you can clearly show your appreciation and ensure your donor feels very special for their willingness to help your cause.