First, remember that right now at least 25% of your prospective partners are ready to be solicited. If you are not asking them formally to join you, consider what’s stopping you. More often than not, it’s simple fear of rejection. If you’ve laid the groundwork and been open and clear, the solicitation is a natural step in the relationship. The key is to make sure your prospective partners understand the impact their gift will have on your organization and its priorities, and that there is urgency in getting started together.
If the gift decision stalls, don’t let it languish. You want to find out the reasons and what you can do to move the decision along. Be active in finding out why. If you have laid the groundwork and you have met more than once, there is a high probability that a gift will be made. What is stalling it will likely be one of two things:
1). They don’t have enough information on the impact of their gift and the urgency of it. Ask straightforwardly what is unclear or not compelling. Remember, philanthropy is learned behavior and you’re the guide. It is ok if they need more time to consider the gift decision, you want thoughtful partners. But, don’t let this become an obstacle. Listen to questions and objections and work together on moving this to closure.
2) A timing issue. This also ties into the ask amount. Very often, they will want to make the gift you’ve asked for, but aren’t able to finance it all in cash. This is where planned giving can play a role. Planned giving is just a tool to help your partners reach their philanthropic goals.
For example, if it is a timing issue, you may want to ask: do you know that your gift can be financed over several years? Or that you can use securities as well as cash? Did you know that you can make a gift to fund the operating cost of the priority for a number of years and endow the gift permanently as a bequest in your will? There are many, many options here.
Remember you are not selling solutions, you are helping your partners meet their philanthropic objectives in an open and collaborative way. These types of conversations are very easy if you are both working toward the same goal.