In this episode my friends Becky and Jon (and Julie!) at We are for Good interviewed me and It got so many listens that I decided to share it with you.

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How to get over the solicitation phobia

“It’s all with the spirit of shedding light on wonderful people and ideas, provoking conversation, and hopefully impacting change over time.” Click To Tweet

To all my fellow fundraisers: I get it. Having that talk — The Ask — with a potential donor can make you shake in your boots! If you keep debating what to say or what to bring, check this out.  I’ve got five steps to set you up for success including the four best ways to handle responses after the ask. My biggest recommendation: put the relationship at the center, not the money. With that, also remember, you don’t have to convince anyone at this stage. During ask meetings our mission as fundraisers is to formally make a solicitation (invite someone to invest in an organization), overcome objections, and gain commitment. It doesn’t have to be awkward, and much less mortifying. If you have a passion for your work as a professional or volunteer, that will shine through and make for the best conversation! 

In today’s episode I’m happy to share the beautiful conversation I had with Jonathan McCoy and Becky Endicott — my friends over at the We Are For Good Podcast —  around fundraising, the power of community, and the importance of gratitude. In this episode of Creating Community for Good, I’m re-purposing the interview they did of me! It was a lot of fun for me to share more about who I am as well as the very tactical and prescriptive recommendations. This episode is a celebration of philanthropy, where we go over my 5-step guide to successful solicitations and the best ways to handle the four possible responses. From body language, to key fundraising material to bring to the specific language of the ask, this episode provides a step by step guide. I also share where my passion for philanthropy comes from, my career story, and my recommendations for future success. The goal: share more about myself and help to avail you of fundraising phobia.

Big visions and big hearts motivate big giving! Act with gratitude, kindness and enthusiasm for successful fundraising. In the end, every step along this journey is creating community for good! Keep going!

Key Takeaways: 

(04:57) – A little bit about me and how growing up in a culture of serving and contributing influenced my career choices, and led me to find my passion and life purpose. 

(12:22) – Control what you can control: why you should always pay attention to how you show up for your donors, and the importance of thoughtful preparation.

(18:03) – Manage the clock: when is the right time to make the ask? Upfront or at the end? 

(21:11) – The power of a pause: How to appropriately ask for a major gift and wrap it up with the perfect invitation.

(28:18) – The four ways a donor might respond to a solicitation and how you can handle your responses. 

(31:31) – The secret sauce to closing a meeting: always have a CTA (call to action).

(32:54) – The power of gratitude and kindness and how they have a long-term impact on our communities.

Fundamental Five: 

  1. How to show up so that you’re your best self and you ensure a receptive audience.
  2. What you need to know and what you need to bring to be prepared for success.
  3. How to manage the clock and when to make the ask.
  4. What to say, a word for word.
  5. How to close the meeting.

Four Different Answers from a Donor and How to Respond

  1. Yes” – you have your pledge form there and ready!
  2. Not Right Now, but Maybe Later” – document this. Explore when you could follow up with the donor.
  3. Yes, but not That Much” – that is OK. This is not about impacting your livelihood, it is about moving the needle on an endeavor. Explore what is meaningful and important to them. Give them the power; every gift matters.
  4. No” – this is rare. Ask for feedback and explore the WHY behind the no.

More about me: 

Starting at a young age, I was passionate about animals and contributing to the greater good. I made my first philanthropic donation of personally meaningful significance at age 8 to the World Wildlife Foundation so I could help save endangered species and receive a binder of facts and pictures of animals from around the world. The gift was $48.50 and I worked hard to gather those funds by going door to door in my neighborhood asking if I could do yard work or help with their chores to earn a couple bucks.

I credit my family for holding a credo of compassion and service. Our family was always involved in neighborhood cleanups and community service. It was expected that my older sister, Elise,  and I were engaged from the start and — throughout our lives. 

In exploring my career I knew I wanted to be in an industry where I was both learning professional acumen and impacting society at large. I considered foreign policy to match my love of travel and cultural exchanges, but for whatever reason it didn’t spark my fire. Instead, I moved into the creative industry of marketing communications, until I discovered a field I’d never heard of: fundraising consulting. It was my niche and has been my passion for the past 12 years. What I love most about my career is the ability to light up a community by teaching ways to deepen relationships, improve communications and ultimately raise significant funds to support extraordinary endeavors. 

 That career was launched with both feet in traveling around the country as a capital campaign director for CCS fundraising. I hold deep gratitude for the opportunities afforded to me and the wisdom imparted on me by my manager and mentor, Rick Happy among many others at CCS. 

After having led teams to raise $1B over the better part of a decade at the firm, I ultimately set up my own shop: Lindsay Simonds Consulting. Now I bring learned truisms, rigor and experience to organizations around the country seeking capital campaign management, leadership coaching, strategic planning and board trainings and much more. I get to be creating and customized with my clients and I love it!  

I am taking new clients now! Ping me at [email protected] (or on LinkedIn) for more information! 

Connect with Lindsay

Through LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Lindsay Simonds Consulting
Follow the Creating Community for Good Podcast on Instagram
Connect with Jon
Connect with Becky

Episode Resources

Making the Ask | The Five Fundamentals of Fundraising
We Are For Good Podcast
World Wildlife Fund
Rick Happy | Philanthropy During a Time of Crisis
Brad Black | Do Good by Doing Good Business
Your body language may shape who you are | Amy Cuddy