What a privilege and help it is when our supporters and prospects provide candid feedback to us. I mean, really candid feedback. The kind that can sting a little bit, but, will without a doubt help us to strengthen our relationship with those that are giving said feedback as well as help us improve our efforts to connect with others. Here are some helpful examples:
- ‘I don’t have a lot of time, just tell me what’s new.’
- ‘A couple email updates a year will suffice for me, no need to keep in touch.’
- ‘I don’t do events.’
- ‘We’re giving to a lot of different places, so our giving will remain modest.’
- ‘You need to help me understand more clearly how my gift is being used.’
You get the picture. This is good stuff. Especially #5. Giving our supporters and prospects clear value offers is a critical way to frame an ask, as well as communicate the gifts they are giving are impacting those we seek to serve in real time, in real ways. It’s imperative that we have crisp, clear, and up to date value offers at our fingertips. Some very basic examples might be:
- A gift of $100 provides 25 meals to families in need
- A gift of $250 provides one month of medical and dental services for our clients
- A gift of $500 provides 5 welcome baskets for new residents at our emergency shelter
Tangible. Measurable. And hopefully, compelling. These should be the ways that we describe our value offers and doing so will increase the likelihood of positive giving decisions, and, candid feedback that is positive. A win-win.
What are you value offers? Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.
I’m always impressed and grateful when a current supporter or prospect asks good questions. First and foremost, it indicates that they are really considering our agency and mission carefully which means if I answer these questions well, a positive giving decision may follow. Secondly, the questions the ask create opportunity for our relationship to deepen. Lastly, good questions keep me sharp! Some examples I love to hear, and aim to respond to carefully and creatively are:
- What impact are you actually having on the people you are seeking to serve?
- How are you measuring success?
- Who are your collaborative partners?
- What have been your biggest challenges in the last fiscal year?
- How did you (Edward) get involved in this work?
- Instead of just throwing money at this, are there other ways I can get involved?
- What role does your Board play in moving the organization forward?
I never want to be scripted, but having ideas and responses to questions like these that are well formed, polished, and accurate can really have an impact on our supporters. In fact, top to bottom, having these responses crafted can culminate into really effective way to represent our agencies even if the questions don’t get asked.
Earlier in my career I sometimes lacked the humility to acknowledge when I didn’t know the answer and would end up scrambling at times because I thought that pretending to know everything was always the best bet. It’s not. If a supporter or prospect asks a great question you don’t know that answer to, acknowledge you don’t know, appreciate them asking, and commit to getting back to them with a well researched response. The bonus here, is that it gives you another reason to follow up which is always a win.
What questions do you love to hear a supporter or prospect ask? Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog.