Two ways to determine why the answer is “NO”

OK…You’ve done everything by the book. You’ve identified and qualified the prospect, you’ve planned your moves management strategy, you’ve spent countless hours cultivating……it’s time for the all important ask!

And what happens?… get a NO!!Yes_No_Maybe

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another.  But, do we ever really know why the answer is no?  Of course, the courageous among us actually ask.  Congratulations!!  That’s actually what you should do.  But, we often hear a variety of reasons and excuses from the donor.  None of which really tell us anything we can work with.

However, if you structure the ask in the right way, you can figure out why the answer is no pretty quickly.

Here’s two different ask scripts to consider:

Three options:  First, structure the ask to include three different funding areas that interest the donor, all at about the same price.  Examples include, program, endowment or operating.  If no area satisfies the prospect, you know the problem is with the price.  Using this tactic provides the prospect with three diverse areas to settle on before seriously addressing the price.

Four Priorities:  Second, structure the ask to include four gift opportunities in the same funding area arranged by descending price.  This strategy tests the price, but if no price satisfies the prospect, you know the problem is with the funding area.  The diversity of the four price points helps the donor settle on a gift range before seriously looking at a funding area.

I find these two strategies to be effective when determining why a donor said no.  They give me a way to plan the next meeting intelligently.  Because we all know that a “no” is half way to a “yes”!

What do you do when you receive a “no”?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Photo credit:  Yes, no, maybe



About dknotek2015

I am a Development Director for the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Having worked in the Development and Alumni Relations Department for the past eight years, I have a unique background in development, philanthropy, and relationship building. I am a University of Nevada, Reno alum as well as a current MBA candidate. You could say I am silver and blue through and through! I am passionate about helping others. I understand how important education is to our local community, the nation, and the world. I remember struggling as a student to finish my own education, and how grateful I was when I received support through the generosity of others. As a professional, I excel at securing private donations which support the students, faculty, programs, and research of the College of Science. I am uniquely qualified to bring potential donors together with areas about which they are passionate and feel compelled to support.
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