Up to this point, you’ve done everything right. You’ve identified a prospective donor whose values are aligned with those of your organization. They’ve indicated interest in your cause. You’ve built a relationship over time, engaging the donor along the way and staying in touch regularly.
Now it’s time to make the ask.
What happens next is critical, especially if your prospective donor doesn’t say “yes”—because that doesn’t always mean “no.”
- What “maybe” sounds like:
Your prospective donor asks questions seeking further information. Don’t mistake that for a “no,” it means they simply want more information! There is still opportunity here.
- What “not now” sounds like:
Your prospective donor says something along the lines of, “It’s a good project, but I’m overcommitted,” or, “It’s not the right fit for me right now.” Again, this does not mean “no,” it just means now is not the right time.
- What “no” sounds like:
Your prospective donor says, “This is not the right project for me.”
What to do when your prospect says “maybe,” “not now,” or “no”
A “maybe” or “not now” can be converted to a “yes.” It doesn’t mean it has to happen during the same conversation, but you can move the dialog to the next phase.
- In response to a “maybe”
Answer any questions you can, and ask, “How best would I reach you with additional/follow-up information?”
- In response to a “not now”
Ask, “When might be a good time for me to check in with you again?”
- In response to a “no”
Ask, “Would it be alright for me to remain in touch as other projects come about that might be a better fit for you?”
If you scheduled a meeting in person, you’re already 80% to “yes”
Remember, if a prospective donor knows the reason you requested to meet with them, and they agreed, they are already open to considering a gift. If you don’t get a “yes” right away, don’t assume it means “no.” It may be a “yes” that just needs more time or information.
Learn more about how you can make asking easier and more effective. Contact us for a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.