How To Talk About Money On Your First Visit

asking on first visit discovery visit fundraising how to talk about money qualification visit Feb 20, 2018

Asking for money before you even know someone can feel creepy.

And it may not be appropriate. probably is.

This potential donor knows why you're there, right? At the very least, they saw the signature line of your meeting request? 

Think of it this way: if they know what you do, then it's actually weirder not to talk about money. Right? Kinda gets things off on the wrong foot?

Honestly, if you don't say something on this first visit, it only gets more awkward later. 

Here are a few approaches that may help (thanks to peeps on Office Hours last week for asking!).

If s/he already gives at any level:

  • "Thank you so much for your generous gifts through the years." And, as you discover what s/he is excited about/interested in, then name a level of support and ask about future interest: "It is amazing for students to have international experiences. We have a lot of donors who give $1,000/year to help with tickets - often that alone makes it possible. Some have even endowed funds. Is this anything you could consider?"

  Help her imagine herself as part of a group of heroes!

  • Ask what else s/he gives to! "I noticed on (FB, LinkedIn) that you're an active volunteer. What moves you to participate?" And then later, "I imagine you have lots of charitable priorities. Do you mind my asking, where does [my org] fall on your list?" 

If s/he has never given: 

  • Once you've shared your own (genuine!) enthusiasm for a program and discovered what s/he cares about, say how others support it and ask permission to have a conversation about giving: "Well, Suzy, thanks so much. This has been a terrific conversation! You know I raise support for [my org], so I'd be remiss if I didn't ask before I leave -
    • time might we have a conversation about giving?" OR
    • ...could we fit into your charitable priorities?"
    • ...would you consider becoming a donor?"

And there you have it! An easy, honest, authentic way to talk about giving from the first visit!

We know it may not be easy the first time - I still have to take a deep breath and force myself occasionally! - but it will end up feeling much, much better than a whole bunch of small talk that doesn't move you closer to a gift.

Give it a try! And join us for Office Hours if you have questions - it's the second Tuesday of every month, we'll even send you an invite. :)

- nancy