If you’re a small and growing nonprofit, my hunch is you’re operating with a small, friends and family board with a limited number of individual and institutional contacts. Furthermore, you may be a staff of just one. If you’re the Fundraiser-in-Chief, you have two options:
- Wait for those folks to get you those leads and connect you to them. As you may know, this can be a very slow process AND
- Do some hunting and call additional prospects that may have an interest and connection to your mission.
Notice I said AND not OR. Do #2 while you’re waiting for #1.
If you work with an established charity, the above reasons still apply. Even if you have all the leads you can handle, you should still find 1 to 5 hours during your week to make cold calls. If nothing else, these calls will keep your pitch razor sharp. Forget the Elevator Pitch. You’ll need to make your point before someone hits a button (or hangs up)! Better yet, you just may find your next corporate sponsor, grant, major gift or board member.
Here are three easy steps for starting your Cold Call Program:
- Choose your time: Identify the time you’ll be making your calls. Most important: BE INFLEXIBLE. If this is the time you choose, that’s your time and don’t change it no matter what comes up. No matter what.
- Choose your prospects: Create your prospect list. This is the easiest part since you probably already have one. Maybe it’s that list you keep giving to your board and asking if they know anyone. Or it’s the list that of companies you’ve convinced yourself would never support your organization. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain at this point.
- Choose your words: Write a script and stick to it. This isn’t comedy or improv. You don’t need to be spontaneous. Write, practice and continually perfect a clear and concise message and reason for your call.
One other extremely important point. The point of this calls is simply to Get a Meeting! Chances are you’ll have variations on why someone tries to escape the call including a very token donation. Your goal here is a meeting and real time to talk about why there’s a fit between you and a potential donor – not a small, “don’t call me again” donation.
I hope this helps. If you need more suggestions or help, visit www.trainingforgoodinc.com