Dealing with prospective donors face-to-face can be key to raising major individual gifts; however, with the rising concern over the COVID-19 Coronavirus things may become more complicated. Here are some best practices and alternatives to consider.
When meeting face-to-face, practice “social distancing”. Maintain a three to six-foot distance between you and those you are meeting. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, avoid physical contact, such as handshakes. Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. For more tips, visit CDC or WHO websites.
If meeting with a prospective donor in person seems unwise, consider speaking with them via telephone, leaving a voicemail, or video conference. While these options are less personal than a face-to-face meeting, they can still be extremely effective.
It takes experience (or in-born knowledge) to know how to work with wealthy, older individuals. The key is draw out why the prospective donor wants to support your charity. This may be obvious. For example, he or she may have been educated by your college or well-treated by your hospital. Knowing this, however, isn’t enough. Work toward asking the donor what he or she wants to accomplish with his or her gift. Be a good listener.
Maybe you’ve done all of this already. In which case it may be time to connect your gift planning adviser with the donor’s adviser, whoever that may be. Ideally, it’s a lawyer, but it may an accountant, a broker, a financial planner, etc.
Your gift planning adviser should be experienced deeply in dealing with the type of professional adviser on whom your donor is relying for advice.
Perhaps you and your gift planning adviser can do some role playing for the benefit of your colleagues in the development and finance offices.
By Jon Tidd
For more tips, see “Seven Steps to a Successful Donor Visit.”