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Here you are, with a challenge gift from a major funder.

[caption id="attachment_3004" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Phone calls don't have to be cold calls"][/caption]

What fun! What work!

You have only $5,000 left to reach your goal, which you must reach in order to get the larger gift from your funder.

And here you sit, picking up the phone to call someone on your donor list.

Your goal is to find some wonderful folks who might be interested in helping with the challenge.

(Note, I didn't say that you were looking for money! No - you are qualifying these folks to find out if they might be potential donors.)

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A Fundraiser's #1 Skill: The Lost Art of Listening


What are the skills the best fundraisers have?

You'd be surprised at my answer: Listening and followup skills are tops on the list.

My recent posts about advice visits and asking donors their impressions are all about listening.

"Listen your way to the gift."

Did you know that listening is actually a gift to the other person?

And who really listens any more?

How Advice Visits Can Open Any Door in Town


Advice Visits are one of my golden tools to help open doors to prospective donors - and to find out what's on a donor's mind.

Advice Visits are based on the old adage:

"If you want someone to give you advice, just ask for money.

If you want money, then ask for advice."

Asking prospective donors for their opinion and guidance always helps to create a closer relationship between the donor and your organization.

And we all know that good fundraising is all about INVOLVING the donor -- not just ASKING for money.

So Advice Visits are part of any good sustainable fundraising program.

Advice Visits practice one of my favorite fundraising rules:

"Treat donors like real people, not like pocketbooks. Ask them for MORE than just money."

The 4 Golden Words That Will Open Your Donor’s Heart to Your Cause


I'm about to reveal my Golden Formula for opening a donor's heart to my cause.

I also use this to find out what a donor is thinking about my presentation.

I use these 4 words all the time - and I get terrific benefits and feedback! I can't tell you how valuable they have been to me.

It's a very simple, single question. And it is guaranteed to evoke a response from your donor that tells you where he stands.

But more importantly, it generates the donor's own thinking about your issue.

It encourages him to ponder your presentation, to digest your material, to think about it, to react to it. It encourages him to embrace what you have just said.

Here is my key to success.

I ask this Golden Question:

"What are your impressions? . . . .

And then I shut up and listen carefully.

This question encourages the donor to think more deeply about what you've presented. She is not going to get hot and bothered about your cause just by listening to YOU do all the talking.

Why Board Members Love Advice Visits


Why do board members love Advice Visits?

Because they find them to be a relief.

If you send your board members out into the community connecting with important people and asking for advice, they'll usually be very happy.

It's because they don't have to do a long, detailed presentation. And they are not comfortable doing that. They don't feel that they know enough.

They ARE comfortable with the idea of seeking advice and input.

After all, they are the community representatives on the board.

It is totally appropriate for your board members to be asking other community leaders for their best thinking on how to achieve the organization’s goals.

They do not have to present a detailed case for support in order to be effective personal advocates for the cause.

Questions to Ask in an Advice Visit

Here's more on the subject of Advice Visits: If you are talking …

Three Rules for Successful Advice Visits


Advice Visits are my GOLDEN KEY to opening any donor or potential donor's heart to my cause.

I wrote about Advice Visits in my newsletter this week. (if you are not a subscriber, you can sign up here.)

I have used Advice Visits time and time again. They are based on the old adage:

"If you want money, ask for advice.

If you want advice, ask for money."

Rule One: Make Sure You Are Interesting, Not Boring
As you tell your person about your cause and seek his advice, you should be watching carefully for his reaction.

If your prospect seems to not be very interested in your cause, then you should not drag on.. If you are perceived as boring or droning on and on, you will never be welcomed back!

The kiss of death for any fundraiser is to be boring. You are the one listening, not talking!

What's the Goal of Your Fundraising Visit?


One of my favorite blogs (For Impact) is talking today about making fundraising calls.

I hear so many times how excited my friends are when they manage to actually get the appointment.

In their excitement, they forget about planning the details of the visit.

I remember years ago when I was a beginning fundraiser at Duke University. I was walking down the street with the VP for Development at Duke. He was going to accompany me on a fundraising visit.

I was pretty excited but also nervous because he was the head honcho. And I will never forget what he asked me: "what are your goals for this visit?"

It's OK to BLATHER, Board Members!

Wow is this idea a hit with board members! Here's the deal - what I find is that board members don't, repeat, don't know what to say about their cause. This may come as a surprise to smart staff members, BUT it's TRUE! (If you don't believe me, then ask one of your board members what they say to people about your organization.) I'll bet that maybe only two or three of your board members have any sense of how they want to share the story of their favorite organization to their friends and the rest of the world. The problem is this: