A very useful phrase
The challenge We have all been told by a prospective donor “I can see myself supporting the work, but it won’t be possible for the next x months/years. And I can’t make any decisions until then.”
We all smartly put the date in our diary. When it comes around we, diligently follow up.
BUT often it’s impossible to get the meeting in and it becomes ever clearer that the previous conversation has slipped out of their mind and off their agenda.
What do you do next? A fundraiser I am coaching at the moment said that she has used an opening phrase of mine with a number of these prospects recently and it has really worked.
“I am conscious that I owe you a conversation.”*
She has done this face to face when they have attended events, with gatekeepers on the phone and by e-mail. She says that it expedites the meeting she wants every time.
Why does it work? Because it is not about you chasing after them; begging. It is about them having said they want to do something and you facilitating that discussion, according to the timeline that they set out. It is a helpful reminder of something that they had forgotten is on their to-do list.
She also said that she loves how efficient and professional it makes her feel; I was paying attention, I haven’t forgotten what you said. Your support remains important to the organisation so I’m coming back to you, as you said you want me to.
Sometimes a smart phrase can reframe the conversation. I'd love to hear phrases that you rely on and your feedback if you use this phrase.
Ilana Jackman is a fundraising coach and campaign consultant working with charities to help them fundraise better, smarter, quicker.
*Alternative phrases include: “I am conscious that we are in the middle of an unfinished conversation.” OR “I know significant time has passed since we first spoke about XXX. Perhaps it might be a good idea to revisit this entirely” OR “I am not sure we have found the right project for you.”