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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Some Bears Like It Hot

How do you know how much to ask for?

You can do what most people do. You can ask for a “safe” amount that you are sure will get you a “yes.” If it’s low enough, how can they possibly say no?

You: “Would you be willing to support us with a $1,000 gift?”
Them: “Sure. Who do I make the check out to?”

YEAH! You’re done! You little rockstar, you! WHEW! No rejection! What a relief!

But didn’t that feel too easy? Are you wondering if maybe they would have given more if only you’d asked for more? Is it possible they were capable, willing and interested in investing more?

The truth is, you may have just lost more than you gained.

When you “set your anchor” too low you risk making two major mistakes.

You fail to establish the real value of your organization in the eyes of the prospect. “Oh they’re not the type of organization that you give $10,000 to.”
You minimize their commitment for the life of the relationship. “But I always give $1,000.”

But how do you know what amount is reasonable to ask for?

Think about Goldilocks. Too Hot, Too Cold and Just Right.

Too Cold” is the lowest level of gift you’d be happy with and still feel successful.
“Just Right” is better than the minimum and the amount you really hope to receive.
“Too Hot” is more than you expected. It’s the level you’re truly dreaming for.

Think about the gifts your organization has received in the past. Do some research about the prospective donor. What have they contributed to before? What size of gift did they give? Why were they motivated to do so? This helps you to find a precedent and understand the potential of donor. Sometimes these and other questions are asked in the exploratory stage of your relationship.

When you are prepared to make the ask, make like a boy scout and “be prepared.” Have benefits, recognitions and naming rights tables available for all your levels.

And remember, "Some bears like it hot." - Jimism #135

(More Jimisms at http://bit.ly/GBJim10
)

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