Last week, Jeff wrote about how difficult it is for MGOs to get meetings with donors. His blog was in response to many requests we are getting from our readers and the MGOs we manage to give more input on getting meetings.
In that blog post he suggested that, besides being persistent, you need to pay attention to the communication preferences of the donor, knowing what to say, and trying to reach the donor via someone else they know. All good stuff.
I’m going to approach this meeting dilemma a different way – one where I look at it from the donor’s point of view and how she makes decisions. I think if we look at it this way it will shed strategic and tactical light on what you should do as a MGO to get a meeting with a donor.
How does all of this look and feel to the donor? What is her decision-making process? How can you influence that in a way that has integrity and care for the donor? Here’s the key: a donor makes a decision to accept a meeting with you or to give or get further involved with you in very much the same you make a decision to buy a product.
This decision-making process is often referred to as the Tarnside Curve or the Commitment Curve. It has been used in sales training and sales process for quite a long time. It has also formed the basis for advertising strategy.
This decision-making curve or process lays out a logical progression of steps that must occur in order to take a person from awareness to commitment over time. It can happen quickly (like in minutes) or it can happen over months and even years – but it always happens in order, one step at a time. You can’t skip over a step – each step or phase must be sequential.
This is the beginning of a series where I’ve taken the core concepts of the commitment curve and adapted them into Five Relationship Steps in Getting Meetings, which I think will help you understand what your donor needs to go through before she will accept having a meeting with you. Here they are:
You must take a qualified donor through each of these steps in order to gain a commitment. Over the next five posts, I will explore each of these steps with practical advice on how to execute each step in your relationship with each qualified donor on your caseload.
It is not easy to get a meeting with a donor. But often the reason the donor will not engage with you is because she is either not aware of the connection between what you want to talk about and her needs, or she has no interest or desire to interact with what you are proposing. It is never about being too busy.
Stay tuned, and together we will explore how the donor is viewing and reacting to the moves management plan you have designed for her and that you are trying to execute.