Recently I was asked to answers questions about how development staff can prepare Board Members and other volunteers to make solicitation calls with them for an article in the Major Gifts Report published by Stevenson, Inc. When I received my copy in the mail I was surprised to see that the article was the front page featured article. Stevenson has granted permission to reprint the article and it is posted here in its entirety.
The article has a different slant than most of my posts and so you need to understand its lens. This is advice for a development officer in preparing a Board Member to make a Major Gift call.
Prepare Board Members, Volunteers for Team Solicitations
Before asking board members or other volunteers to participate in donor solicitation calls, know the roles everyone will play says Marion Conway, principal, Marion Conway Consulting (Verona, NJ).
“Does the Board Member represent the link to the potential donor as a friend, business associate or alumni of same college or does the Board Member just represent an added representative from the organization?” Conway says. “Their role may be different depending on their existing relationship with the potential donor.”
In either case, board members/volunteers should share with the prospect their connection with the organization and passion for its mission, their personal relationship with its work and events, how it benefits their family and community.
Discussing major goals of the strategic planning and the vision for the organization’s future is also valuable and appropriate, Conway says.
Meet in advance of the solicitation call to discuss these roles so there are no surprises at the call she says. Cover the type of questions they will answer, and which questions you will handle: “For example, if you have developed a list of program options that the donor might support, the board member or volunteer may help figure out which options are most likely to appeal to the donor.”
If the board member/volunteer has a personal relationship with the potential donor, it is appropriate for him or her to make the ask, says Conway, because it can be done in an informal and personal way. “If the board member/volunteer does not have a personal relationship with the donor, it is better for you to make the ask. In either case you should know what the specific ask will be.
This article is being reprinted from The Major Gifts Report with the permission of Stevenson, Inc. To receive a free sample issue, simply call, write, or fax your request to: Stevenson, Inc., P.O. Box 4528, Sioux City, IA 51104. Phone (712) 239-3010. Fax (712) 239-2166. www.stevensoninc.com
Marion Conway Consulting