“THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF” – FDR
Over the past 17 years, I have spoken at over a hundred seminars. My topics are often different, but the message is always the same: don’t be afraid to make a solicitation and ask for a gift or pledge to your organization. After explaining that our approach is a NO pressure presentation and reviewing our simple 5 step solicitation process, I believe people feel like – yes I can do it! But as soon as they leave the seminar, FEAR sets in. This one word prevents more people from succeeding in this business than anything else. I remember my first solicitation. I was so afraid, nervous and fearful, I don’t remember what I said or how I said it, but the outcome was successful. The prospect agreed to our ask amount. The point is everybody has a certain amount of FEAR and some reservations and anxiety about asking for money. Your “asks” may not be perfect. The key to how good you get at “asking” depends on your ability to forge ahead knowing you can get better. I’ve always critiqued myself after a solicitation. I review in my mind the positives and negatives of the meeting. I don’t dwell on my mistakes. I just tell myself, I will do better. The secret is to keep on trying, regardless of the outcome.
To summarize here’s a quick way to overcome the FEAR FACTOR.
F….Five steps; E….Effort; A…Attitude; R….Results
F…..FIVE steps of your solicitation…have a plan. Make sure everyone going on the visit with you knows their role. (I will fully detail the 5 Steps in another post)
- Step 1 – Small Talk
- Step 2 – Purpose of the Meeting
- Step 3 – Tell the Story – Case for Support
- Step 4 – The Ask
- Step 5 – The Follow Up
E ….EFFORT – the first thing you have to do is to schedule the meeting. Remember, “IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME”. Without effort and persistence at making the calls on your part, there will be no results. Meetings don’t just happen…there has to be tremendous effort. One client we worked with, their development officer would close her door and stay until she scheduled a certain number of visits.
A….ATTITUDE – your attitude will affect everything you do in this business of fund-raising, from making the call, to the solicitation, to the follow-up. You have to remain high when you are low. If your attitude is not where it should be, then fake it until you get a positive attitude.
R…..RESULTS – if you pick up the phone and set the appointment, then use the 5 steps of solicitation, with a positive attitude, then all your effort will produce results.
Be prepared, be positive, be consistent, and you will, over time, eliminate the FEAR FACTOR!
Jerry F. Smith – CFRE
President & CEO
JF Smith Group