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.”

What is an Advice Visit?

It’s a personal one-on-one meeting between you and a potential or current donor to your organization.

This meeting is called the Advice Visit, because that is truly what you are after — advice.

This visit is emphatically not about money.

Your ONLY goal for visiting this person is to ask them what they think of your project and ask for some serious guidance.

It is always beneficial to get other people’s thoughts about your cause, especially if the thinking comes from important potential donors with deep pockets.

Can I Pick Your Brain? Advice Visits Can Open Important Doors

The best way to open any door in town is to ask the person for their advice. Try calling them up and saying,

“I have an interesting project up my sleeve. Can I take you out for coffee and pick your brain about it?”

Or,

“My organization is trying to do xxxxx, and I am not sure how we can accomplish this. Can I come ask your advice and get the benefit of your perspective?”

Advice Visits are easy; in fact, there is not a better door-opener and cultivation tool.

You can do more in a half an hour with one important prospect than you can do in an entire evening of small talk at an event.

This is a perfect opportunity to promote your cause and cultivate a potential donor in a direct, personal way.

Like an “Informational Interview.”

If you have ever read the job-hunting book, What Color Is Your Parachute? The book describes a meeting called the Informational Interview.

The idea is that anybody will be willing to talk to you if you are seeking their advice and counsel.

Of course they’ll see you — because guess what — they get to talk about themselves .

They get to do all the talking. Who wouldn’t agree to a meeting where they got to do all the talking — and better yet, dispense advice.

People are usually complimented when someone approaches them just to ask for advice and you will be surprised at the   number of doors that will open if you just ask for advice.

If you have never tried an Advice Visit, then a world of possibility and connection awaits you.

People want to help nonprofit causes, because they care about their communities, regions, country, and world.

You will find help where you seek it, and you will be particularly successful because you are not asking directly for money.

WHAT DO YOU GET FROM AN ADVICE VISIT?

  • FEEDBACK on your case. They’ll tell you what they think. They’ll shoot holes in your case – and you need the feedback.
  • YES OR NO? They’ll tell you whether they personally may be a potential supporter or not.
  • LEADS. The person being visited will invariably give you an important lead or suggestion that will help you further your cause.
  • HELP. Best of all, the person almost always offers to do something to help you. That means they are joining the cause and becoming invested in your success.

“I received an unsolicited $10,000 challenge gift in an advice visit!”

Another colleague and client, Linda Frenette, Executive Director of the Community Music School in Raleigh, wrote me recently with this amazing story:

  • “I had an “advice visit” today with a very prominent woman in the community who on the spot offered a $10,000 challenge grant!!
  • “What’s even more amazing is that she would not even schedule the meeting until she told me and my board member that her foundation had no money to give us!”

Wow, wow and wow again.

How have you used Advice Visits in your fundraising work?

Tell your story with a comment here: