Let’s face it, training isn’t great in our industry.
So, how do MGOs get the know-how, tools, and resources they need to build high-value relationships? Does this just happen? And how does it scale? Is it enough to just hire friendly people?
Well, you’re probably tired of hearing me say this, but major gifts work is both art and science.
Yes, MGOs need to be friendly and likable. It’s hard to teach those traits—that’s art.
But to succeed in major gifts, those friendly, likable people need to build high-value relationships at scale. And that’s not going to just happen, particularly with new MGOs.
So, this is where the science comes in; some might call it “best practices.” It’s where we leverage proven systems designed to optimize our major gifts work.
On Day #1 we talked about a new way to think about your portfolio. With a simple mental shift, it becomes way more than just names on a page.
And we talked yesterday about the importance of feeding your major gifts pipeline—regularly. Nothing going in? Eventually there will be nothing coming out. If you missed the Outreach Roadmap I shared, you can find it here. It will keep you on track with this important work.
Today, I want to talk tactically about your prospect outreach. And I want to share one tip guaranteed to get you more face-to-face visits with potential donors.
Fearless Fundraising’s One-Two Punch
Have you ever emailed or called a prospect and not heard back?
Happens all the time, right? It’s part of the job. Veteran fundraisers know this.
Most people are busy—especially the kind of people who make good prospects. Retirees can be a different story, but sometimes the One-Two Punch is helpful with them as well.
I started using this technique when I realized most people would rather email me than return my phone call. Which is great! Any response is better than no response.
Yet, email often isn’t enough to grab someone’s attention.
And so, Fearless Fundraising’s One-Two Punch was born. It does two thing: 1) it creates urgency, and 2) it make it as easy as possible for my prospect to get back to me.
Here’s how it works:
Step one: Phone message. So few people answer their phones these days! In my experience, most calls result in a voicemail.
Step two: Follow-up email. Send it shortly after leaving your phone message. “Hi [Name], I’m sending a quick note to follow-up on the voicemail I left you this afternoon…”
See, a one-two punch.
In fact, when leaving phone messages, I often tell my prospects I’ll be sending a follow-up email. You can position this as a courtesy: “I’ll go ahead and summarize all this in an email for you.
The phone call/message adds a sense of urgency. And the immediate follow-up email makes it easy for your prospect to reply.
It’s a simple technique, but it’s been a big help to me and my team. We’re seeing much higher response rates in our discovery and qualification outreach.
And it works in other contexts as well—like with co-workers!
Take the One-Two Punch for a test drive. Make it a part of your outreach efforts—I’m confident you’ll be happy with the results.
The One-Two Punch is part of a broader system that I call the Standard Outreach Sequence. I use it whenever I’m reaching out to someone to request an initial meeting.
It’s easy for fundraisers, new ones in particular, to get paralyzed by uncertainty. We’ve all been there. A prospect doesn’t reply to our email and we don’t know what to do next. Should I email again? How soon is too soon? Should I just call? Text? What if I bother him?
Having an outreach blueprint cuts decision-making time dramatically. It provides clarity, certainty, and permission to take action.
Systems like The Standard Outreach Sequence eliminate the guesswork. They cut decision-making time, and keep fundraisers moving forward. And, ultimately, they lead to more outreach, more meetings, and more gifts.
Get more proven systems
Today we just covered ONE part of one system that can help MGOs take more meaningful actions with more prospects.
What if you had systems that streamlined other parts of your major gifts fundraising?
How big should MGO portfolios be?
Who should be in our portfolios?
How many gifts do I need to close to reach my goal?
How many solicitations do I need to make in order to get those gifts?
How many prospects should I be cultivating right now?
Who should I contact next? And when?
What should I say when making first contact?
When should I give up if I don’t get a response?
For you, I’ve made the systems and frameworks that underpin my whole approach to major gifts fundraising available.
It’s the complete program I use when on-boarding new gift officers so they get off to a fast start while also building for the long haul. You’ll get:
My framework for managing MGO donor portfolios and maximizing their potential
Formulas for calculating exactly how much outreach you need to do each week to build and sustain a major gifts pipeline
A template and guidance for creating your own Outreach Playbook—a system that will keep you moving toward your major gifts goals, daily
A deeper dive into the Standard Outreach Sequence, including what to say and how to say it for each step
And much more…
This material is tested. This material is proven.
It’s also grounded in best practices from the worlds of sales, marketing, persuasion psychology and, yes, non-profit fundraising. I use this stuff every single day.
I’ve bundled it all into my new video course called The Systems of Success. Part of my Ultimate Major Gifts Officer Bootcamp series, this course is 100% online, which means you can take it on your own time, at your own pace.
Cut the major gifts guesswork. Stop worrying and wondering if you’re doing enough of the right things.
Embrace the clarity, consistency, and confidence of proven systems. Check out The Systems of Success today.
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