The 3 Principles of Getting Donors to Yes

How would others describe you – as a busy person, or as a person who is able to get donors to respond generously?  There are many busy people – in fact, most everyone these days is busy.  But there are only a few people who encourage donors well.  Getting donors to “yes” more often has more to do with attitude and less to do with aptitude.
To get more donors to “yes”, keep these 3 principles in mind:
  1. Focus first and primarily on donors, not tasks – development professionals who focus on tasks are busy, but development folk who focus on donors get more to say yes.  Why did the prospect make her first gift to you?  What other organizations might they support?  These are the types of questions which build positive relationships and allow for us to make things happen.
  2. Inspire – encourage donors to imagine an enhanced future.  Paint a picture with words, assuming success.  And seek feedback and advice on your plans which have the ability to change the world – even if it is one life at a time.
  3. Seek advice and involvement first – asking someone for their advice is a compliment of the highest order.  Ask and listen.  And then ask them to become more involved.  Then, a bit later, you should ask for a gift.

Getting donors to say, “yes, I’ll fund the full amount of the proposal,” is art that needs regular practice.  If you provide some things for your donors – for example, a sense that they matter as people, an interest in their lives, and an inspirational story – you will find more and more donors saying, “yes” to you.


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