The Alignment Circle

Copyright© 2018 Veritus Group LLC

Some things stay the same. Other things change.
This is true in every relationship. That’s why, when we designed the Permission-Based Asking Model™, we made it circular – so changes and nuances could be accommodated and handled.
This is a very important concept. Remember, your objective is NOT to get the money at all costs. Your objective is to satisfy and fulfill donor passions and interests AND do it in a manner that honors and respects the donor and her timing and circumstances.
This means you will need to listen carefully and modify your agenda every time you hear a response from the donor that is different than what you expected or wanted. This is difficult, I know. But it is so important. And if you are present to your donor and curious, you won’t be asking questions to get an answer you want or expect, or making assumptions about where your donor is.
You may slip up on this one, as that is the natural tendency – to press ahead toward the objective. But learn to be aware and catch yourself. Over time you’ll get better at it. Here’s the thing – the more neutral you can be, the less you will get caught off-guard or get tight and not be able to be creative and curious in your response. And you’ll be more honoring and present to your donor.
The most common complaint Jeff and I, and our team, hear from donors is summed up in the phrase: “All they want is my money.” This means that we (the collective non-profit community) have trained the donor population to expect to be badgered for money. It is in this culture and environment that Jeff and I are asking you to be different. This means that you will practice real and authentic caring while you pursue the net revenue the organization needs.
The Alignment Cycle helps you do that. It keeps you going round and round, carefully and delicately handling the feelings, concerns, questions and wonderings the donor has. And to help you do that, we’ve created the Alignment Cycle Matrix, which outlines great questions you can use in your various donor meetings or situations that may come up. Here it is (click the image to see a larger version):
The Alignment Matrix
As you use the concepts in the alignment process, remember that your objective is not to jump out of the alignment cycle and “get going.” No. It is to keep going round and round, answering and dealing with the donor’s questions and concerns until you feel it is natural to move on.
Our Major Gift Academy team will be developing these options and details in greater detail so you can practice walking through the Alignment Cycle until it becomes a natural rhythm for you to use with donors. If you have any additional points that need to be added, please send them our way.
In my next and final blog about the Permission-Based Asking Model™ I’ll be giving you some practical information to use when dealing with fears in asking, and how to ask good questions. And please feel free to contribute your ideas and experience to anything I’m writing here regarding permission-based asking.
Read the whole series on Permission-Based Asking:

  1. Permission-Based Asking: An Introduction
  2. Permission-Based Asking: Making Connections
  3. Permission-Based Asking: The Alignment Circle
  4. Permission-Based Asking: Celebrate
  5. Permission-Based Asking: The Alignment Cycle Matrix (this post)
  6. Permission-Based Asking: Dealing with Fear, Developing Conversation