After You’ve Asked for the Gift, What Next?

So you’ve popped the question to your donor. You’ve said “We were hoping that you would consider a gift of $XXX to make something wonderful happen.”

The Moment of Truth

The Moment of Truth

Now, what’s next?  Did you know that the next person who speaks loses?

You’ve got to allow your donor plenty of time to think it over.  The donor is mulling, mulling, not saying anything.  And there you sit! Nervous – and as jumpy – as a frog in a frying pan.  I know, the urge to start babbling is strong, mighty strong!  But KEEP YOUR COOL!

The donor may take as long as a full minute to think this over. He or she is considering lots of issues: can I make this gift?’ do I really want to make this contribution?; if I donate money to this cause, will they spend it wisely?; what is my cash flow?; can I sell some stock?; can I ask other family members to go in with me?; what’s the timing of all this; do I really believe in this project?

And these are pretty important considerations! While you are sitting there, all this is running through your donor’s mind.  And there you sit. Silently, silently.

This is the moment I have kicked – ok, maybe gently nudged – college presidents under the table when they started to open their mouth. (Advice:  make a deal beforehand that you can do this!)

This fundamental rule is rarely discussed in fundraising circles.  Actually, it’s an old sales technique.  I was trained by Xerox in the 80’s on “professional selling skills” back when they were in their heyday.  If you happen to be working with anybody who’s had sales training, they probably understand this rule well.

What are your experiences with “popping the question?”  Share them and we can discuss!