After retiring from 45 years as a successful professional salesperson, I thought I could contribute to my community by helping organizations with their fundraising. Not having much experience in fundraising I wondered how different asking people to support a valuable community organization was than asking someone to make a purchase. I was surprised to find out there is very little difference between the process of closing a sale and getting a donation.
Secrets Of A Successful Fundraiser
While cleaning out our bookshelves, my wife came across the book “Asking” by Jerold Panas. Mr. Panas in a few short pages (there are only 108 including the appendices) outlines the process a successful fundraiser uses:
- Identify a prospective donor
- Qualify a prospective donor
- Schedule a meeting with the donor
- Build rapport with the donor
- Bring excitement, enthusiasm and energy to the meeting
- Understand the donors reasons to give
- Determine the financial commitment the donor is comfortable making
- Learn about the donor’s motivation to give
- Present the donation request with passion and positive expectation
- Ask for the contribution
- Address the objections
- Ask again
- Confirm the donation
- Thank the donor
- Get referrals
Great salespeople will recognize the similarity to the selling process.
There Are Differences
In professional selling, salespeople are looking to convince a prospect to purchase a product or service to satisfy a need or want. In fundraising we offer the giver an opportunity to support an organization or idea they are passionate about. The role of the salesperson or fundraiser is to create or enhance an emotional need to buy or contribute. The fundraiser helps the donor “feel the rapture of being alive”, to quote Mr. Panas. The salesperson provides the buyer with a solution to a problem eliminating one impediment to achieving their personal and professional goals.
What’s The Motivation?
There are professional fundraisers, to be sure. But most of those I know are just like you and me. Successful salespeople or businessmen and businesswomen who donate their time to raise money for worthy causes. We are motivated by a drive to help people change or even save lives. The common characteristic of great salespeople and successful fundraisers is persistence. Not everyone buys. Not everyone gives. But those of us who have been successful know it is by not giving up.
What’s Your Passion?
Sure your work long and hard every week in your sales job. But are you also interested in helping others, too. Are you involved in your community? Want to put your talents to work to make this world a little better? Over the next several weeks, I’ll be blogging about the similarities between fundraisers and salespeople. I think the experience of fundraising will make us better salespeople.
If you want a copy of “Asking” by Jerold Panas you can get it HERE.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Do you have a passion to help others?
- Look at how you spend your time. Is there space to add some volunteer work?
- What organizations have missions that interest you?
- Comment on this blog or email me if you are doing fundraising. Let me know your opinion on the difference between selling and fundraising.
To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Six, Characteristics of Successful Salespeople, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales encouragement, join our FREE Sales Club! “See” you next week.