Hearts or Minds?

Last week was Planned Giving Days, hosted by the National Capitol Gift Planning Council, and, as usual, it was an excellent opportunity to learn from a wonderful group of speakers and attendees. One presentation prompted an animated follow-up conversation.  “From Suspect to Prospect to Closing the Deal.” The speaker described her organization’s process of lead […]

Hearts or Minds?

by pfreedman on June 4, 2014 · 6 comments

Last week was Planned Giving Days, hosted by the National Capitol Gift Planning Council, and, as usual, it was an excellent opportunity to learn from a wonderful group of speakers and attendees. One presentation prompted an animated follow-up conversation.  “From Suspect to Prospect to Closing the Deal.” The speaker described her organization’s process of lead qualification.  I applaud the organization for phone follow up and for a formal lead conversation process—a step that’s missing in many organizations. What got tongues wagging, including mine, was the directness and rapidity with which the organization moves prospects through the consideration process.

After initial qualification, they provide relevant estate planning information.  They follow up with up to three phone calls, spaced over a period of time (up to 6-9 months), depending on whether the donor says he/she needs more consideration time.  In each phone call the ask is made very directly. If there is no gift commitment by the third call, that prospect is removed from the caller’s portfolio.

Unfortunately, there was not sufficient time to ask questions.  But some of us in the audience expressed surprise at the directness of the asks and by the speed with which a prospect is counted out.  What I would want to know is:

  1. How much qualification took place initially?  Was the passion of the donor for the cause truly assessed?  There was no mention of this kind of conversation as part of the process.  Instead, it sounded like the conversation was very transactional.

  2. Do people get a follow up call a year or even 18 months later or a special lead conversion track through the mail/email?  Some folks need a longer time or the occurrence of a life event to take action.

  3. What about the people who don’t want to disclose.  Maybe some of the “no” answers they’re getting are simply folks who don’t want to commit publicly—now or, perhaps, ever? Is there a category for them so that they can be stewarded appropriately?

  4. What happens to these prospects after they’re eliminated from a portfolio?  Are they put into an “inquirers” segment for subsequent marketing and stewardship?  I find that over time inquirers are the best prospects for subsequent gift closing.

What’s your take on this?  I’d be very interested to hear.

Phyllis

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