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Part III: Soliciting for Funds


Welcome back to week three of helpful planning tips for your campaign! First we explored why setting a reasonable campaign goal was vital to achieving success during the capital campaign. Last week we dove into the foundational best practice of preparing the solicitation with a strong Pre-Campaign planning period. This week we’ve made it to the Capital Campaign! 


A tremendous amount of planning and organizing goes into the first steps of the Campaign Readiness Study and the Pre-Campaign. 


First, celebrate how far you have come in preparation for reaching the goal. Your organization has taken key steps to get to this point. You’ve held meetings, listened to the feedback of stakeholders, set the foundation for the campaign with well-thought-out roles on volunteer committees, and much more! 


Now we’re at the fun part - Soliciting for Funds. This week we’ll take you through a series of important steps for meeting prospective donors/ stakeholders to ask for a pledge or outright gift. We know it can be intimidating at first to ask for a gift to an important cause. Remember that giving most matters to donors when missions are important to them and their community. Let's find out how to make this a little less uncomfortable for you! 


Tip #1. Do your research. Know your prospect. Why might your organization be important to them or their organization? Read and reread the case statement and materials on the organization for which you are soliciting a gift. It is important for someone soliciting a gift to know and understand how this will make an impact. 


Tip #2. Make an appointment to see the prospect(s) yourself. Do not ask somebody else to make the appointment. Between your phone call and the in-person meeting, send them an email with all the written materials (case statements and anything else) that they may need to fully understand the project. 


Tip #3. During your meeting with the prospect, start light and have a casual conversation about mutual interests. Ask and truly listen to any questions they may have about the project. Now talk about the importance of the project for the people it will serve. Make sure you capture the significance of improving the quality of life for the community and area it serves. HAVE CONFIDENCE in yourself and the cause you are representing. Now we’re going for it. Try something like this, “For this project to succeed, we need to make significant commitments to this project. Would you (or your organization) consider a gift of (amount suggested) over the next 3-5 years?” 


Tip #4. Now DO NOT say anything more. Stop talking and wait for their response. If you continue talking, you’ll likely say something like, “I know that’s a lot of money” or, “I’m sure you’re asked for financial gifts a lot.” You are HANDING them an excuse to say no. Stop talking and listen. Listen to what they say before responding. (At Crescendo, we will prepare the volunteers soliciting financial gifts and give them many response suggestions based on the response of the prospect.)


Tip #5. Regardless of their response, thank them. Following your meeting, a personal handwritten thank you would be nice, too. Report your findings to the board president or campaign team leaders, and follow through with any follow-up meeting or phone call necessary. 


We hope these 5 tips will help you if you’re in the soliciting phase of your capital campaign or preparing for it! If you have other questions or would like to schedule a free consultation with an advisor, please reach out to Ellen at Ellen@CrescendoLLP.com

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