3 Reasons to Meet Your Planned Gift Prospects (and Donors) in Person

Planned gift prospects are prospects because they have indicated, one way or another, that your organization is like family to them. If they didn’t, you wouldn’t dare mention a bequest to that person, essentially asking for a place alongside their own children and siblings. And you certainly wouldn’t ask them for other types of life income gifts. It’s appropriate that you meet in person every once in awhile for a variety of reasons.  Meet Your Prospects in Person

Here are 3 reasons you should hang up the phone and get into your car:

1. Talk privately. Of course, you shouldn’t be saying anything to a prospect you wouldn’t want anyone else to hear. But privacy still counts. It counts toward building trust and establishing a bond. It helps you uncover objections to a planned gift that might be being articulated by a financial advisor or family member. Perhaps that means the likelihood of a gift decreases, or perhaps it arms you with the knowledge to address the real hesitation. 

2. Small talk counts. Small talk about sports, hobbies, and current events add up to more memorable interactions, and those conversations happen more naturally in person than over the phone or email. You will learn so much about a prospect if you meet in person in their home. Do they display accolades from military service? Photos of travel, or of close family? If you make this visit once, even your follow-up phone calls and emails will be endlessly more personal once you uncover a unique fact about that individual.

3. Read body language. I’m not telling you anything that you don’t know when I say that the important information about your prospect is not in your database.  Perhaps they’ve given to your university year after year in the Annual Fund – but why? When you talk about your current programs – research, scholarships, new buildings or facilities – you want to pay attention to your prospect and recognize when eyes light up or glaze over. Every prospect you have has an opinion about how you intend to spend their money – identify and focus on what makes sense for that prospect. If other organizations are also cultivating that donor, that ability to “read” a prospect beyond the data captured in your database is a huge advantage for you.
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