Face-to-face solicitations are the most effective form of fundraising. In fact, when solicitors meet with people they know, the response rate is above 50%. That is quite high compared to other solicitation response rates such as direct mail or telephone.
So. Today I want to talk about the best practices of face-to-face solicitations. I also want to go step-by-step through the face-to-face solicitation process.
Face-to-Face Solicitations: Best Practices
A few things that you want to do with each face-to-face solicitation…
Have an asking price.
When you ask someone for money, you want to be clear about the price that you are asking. Are you asking for $20 or are you asking for $100,000? Come with a specific asking price.
Bring a pledge card.
Pledge cards increase giving because people don’t feel obligated to pull out their checkbook then and there. They can promise that they will give a certain amount in a few months or before the year it out. Since it lowers the street placed on the individual, they are more likely to agree to give something.
Provide multiple giving options.
It is a good practice to give people several giving options on the pledge card. Once again, this lowers the stress placed on the individual. First off, they don’t have to come up with an amount themselves. Also, they might pick one of the lower options, but ideally you would have three or four giving options that would all satisfy your request.
Always mention the WHY.
Surprising, I know, but a lot of people forget to tell people WHY they are asking for money. You never, ever want to walk away from a solicitation and realize that you didn’t mention why you were asking for money. Make sure every individual knows your cause and the importance of the money you are asking for.
Also, remember that who does the ask is very important. Most people are more willing to give to people in a similar situation as them. You probably wouldn’t send a teenager to ask a 75 year old for money. Likewise, you probably wouldn’t send someone with the giving capacity of around $100 to ask for a $100,000 donation.
Let’s move on to the steps of a face-to-face solicitation.
Step 1: Identify and Research Prospects
As you come up with people who you might ask for donations, make sure you gather the following:
- Phone Number
By the way, if you haven’t read my article about the Three C’s (Capacity, Concern, and Connection), hop on over to that article!
Step 2: Find the Right Askers and Train Askers
As we mentioned in the best practices, you want to make sure the right person does the ask. You don’t want to be denied money because you sent the wrong person. It is a good idea to send someone who is donating around the same amount of money that you are asking for. This puts both the asker and the potential giver on the same playing field.
Also, think about where the person is in their life. Are they retired? Are they a young mother? Are they a business executive? Find someone that would fit their situation to do the ask.
Furthermore, you are more likely to get a “yes” if the person doing the ask actually knows and is friends with the person that is being asked.
Once you have found your askers, help them learn how to ask people for money. A lot of people feel uncomfortable asking others for money. Two ways to help your askers to be comfortable is (1) role playing before the ask, and (2) providing the asker with supplementary materials such as the pledge card, brochures about your organization, or anything else that might be useful.
Step 3: Schedule Appointment
There are two options for scheduling an appointment for the ask.
Option one is setting up a formal meeting where the person being asked knows that you are going to come and pitch to them.
Option two is figuring out a time when the asker and the person being asked are already going to be together, such as golfing, fishing, going to the gym, going to lunch, etc.
Interestingly, option one is always less successful than option two. Why? Two reasons: (1) In option two the two people involved are already friends and that raises the chances of receiving a yes, and (2) In option two there is less stress, so the individual is more likely to overthink his or her giving.
Step 4: Ask
Step four is to actually meet with the prospects and ask! If you take some time to practice and remember our best practices then you’ll do great!