Closing Donations: Don’t Hang Up Too Soon
Are you closing donations effectively? A donor called to make a $5,000 gift in memory of her recently deceased mother. The donor was interested in what people today are concerned about—effectiveness of our programs, our efficiency rating, the people we serve.
We discussed a number of possibilities regarding how the gift could be used. After asking a number of questions about our organization and its programs, she decided where she wanted her gift to go.
She was ready to hang up when I asked her to tell me about her mother.
She was caught off guard, but proceeded to tell me what a loving mother and wife she had been, how dedicated she had been to her church, and how uncomfortable her mother would have been to see the big fuss everyone had made over her at her funeral.
We visited about her mother for 20 minutes, she on the east coast of the United States and I in the west. I asked questions about her mother’s life because I was interested. She found some catharsis in sharing stories about her mother.
As development people, we are about people and ministry. We are not just about dollars. We seek funding because of the difference that funding will make in the lives of those less fortunate, or those who are hurting, or those needing guidance and comfort… and because of the difference those gifts will make in the lives of the donors who respond to God’s grace by giving gifts. Keeping this tenet in mind will help you with closing donations.
I could have hung up the phone after we determined how the $5,000 was to be used. That would have been a somewhat cold transaction. By asking about her mother, and listening to the story of her life, this woman was given another opportunity to share the story of her mother…and celebrate the life they shared together.