4 ways to land your next donor meeting



I believe now is the perfect time to start landing more donor meetings, even though you may not have face to face meetings available to you.


This might sound a little counterintuitive at first, but today I’m sharing why.


Donors are easier than ever to reach now. They’re not on the usual travel schedules, they're at home more often, they're picking up the phone and they're probably more willing to have a conversation with you about a cause that they're passionate about.


So, it only makes sense - now is the time to start working on landing more of those elusive donor meetings!


Here are four ways you can start landing more meetings with major donors:


  1. Make it really easy for the donor to say yes

Face to face meetings are the gold standard in terms of working with major donors and they are incredible. But let's face it - it's actually a pretty big commitment for a donor to make!


The silver lining of not having face to face meetings available is that it makes it easier to be creative, and offer up something different, like a virtual coffee or a 20-minute phone call.


Don’t miss the opportunity to stay connected to your donor and keep that meaningful conversation going. And even more importantly, don’t make assumptions about HOW donors want to interact with you.


We sometimes project our own personal preferences on the donor (“I hate being interrupted by a phone call”), or make decisions based on unfounded assumptions (“our donors are older, they aren’t going to want to meet virtually”). This doesn’t serve us well, and can get in the way of successfully booking a meeting.


If in doubt, the solution is simple - just ask! Offer up a couple of different options to see what your donor prefers.


2. Keep it short and sweet


The company Boomerang did a study that looked at over 40 million emails - they discovered that there’s an optimal email length that increases the chances of getting an email open, read and responded to.


If you keep your message between 50 and 120 words, you are far more likely to get a response from your donor.


So keep it brief, put that to the test - work on keeping your emails under 120 words and see if that boosts your response rate.


3. Make it all about the donor


Here’s a big mistake that I see a lot of nonprofits make - they make their communications about the organization’s achievements, programs, stats…they turn “information firehose” on the donor in hopes of persuading them of the value of supporting the cause.


If you’re going to be truly successful at major gifts, your donor must be an active participant in these conversations with you! That’s why this is a perfect time to put that old adage into action: If you want money, ask for advice, if you want advice, ask for money.


Now is the time to ask for a donor’s impressions of something, run an idea by them, or find out what they hope to achieve with their giving. Cultivate your own curiosity, and think about questions you can ask to start a conversation, get your donor engaged meaningfully in your work.


4. Be persistent


Most fundraisers give up far too soon when it comes to trying to land a meeting with a donor.


To borrow a statistic from sales - it can take an average of eight touch points to actually hear back from or qualify a lead or a donor. Make sure you stay persistent in trying to land that meeting!


Be sure you are bringing value to the donor, and keep mixing up those touch points - experiment with different channels including making personalized videos for your donors, sending emails or letters, because now is a perfect time to do that!


Emma Lewzey, CFRE is an award-winning fundraising expert

with 20+ years experience raising millions of dollars across the arts, education, health and human services sectors. If you want to raise more 5, 6 and even 7-figure donations your non-profit, you can download Emma’s free Blueprint for Major Gift Success, and learn the 4 crucial steps to raising big gifts (at any size shop!)

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