Making the Virtual Ask
It’s six months into the coronavirus pandemic and we are still managing to maintain social distance with one another. This can be challenging for nonprofit organizations that rely on connecting with donors in person to keep them engaged and providing financial support to the organization. So how do you ask donors to continue their support to your organization when you are unable to meet with them in person? Just as we have adapted our internal meetings with Zoom and other virtual platforms, we need to consider video conferencing tools in meeting virtually with our donors. Below are steps to assist in completing a virtual gift ask.
- Contact the donor by phone. Share that you would like to connect with them more personally and ask if they may be comfortable visiting with you by video conference. Select a video conference system they may be most comfortable using, whether it’s Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, LifeSize or even FaceTime on an iPhone.
- Send an email and/or calendar invite confirmation with meeting details such as date, time and meeting link.
- Plan to log into the meeting 10-15 minutes ahead of schedule. This allows time to adjust your video and sound settings and display any visual aids you wish to share. You also want to be on time and not keep your guests waiting.
- Greet your guests as they log onto the video conference. Display a smile and wear clothing as you would if you were meeting the donor in-person.
- Open the conversation by asking how they are doing. How have they been coping during the pandemic? How have they been spending their time?
- Transition to share updates about your organization. Use the video conference as a tool to help tell your story by displaying graphs or infographics to communicate your message and needs. Note anything special your organization is doing to help its clients adjust or stay safe during the pandemic.
- If it feels appropriate, ask the donor if they may be willing to help support your organization’s needs with a financial gift. If you have a target ask amount, make sure to make that known in the gift ask.
- Pause and wait for the donor to respond.
- If the donor is able to make the commitment during your conversation, share details about how they may be able to make a gift, whether you plan to send a link to the online donation form on your website or place a pledge card in the mail.
- If the donor needs some time to think about the request, discuss a time that you may be able to call and follow-up on your conversation.
- If they decline, express your understanding and appreciation of their time to listen to your needs.
- Close the conversation with your gratitude for their time and any support they may have shared during the conversation.
- After the virtual meeting is complete, thank the donor with a thank-you note. A personal, handwritten card sent in the mail will go a long way to making an impression, especially during this time.
- Recognize any gift received through your regular acknowledgement processes. Also, include a board member or volunteer in the gift thank you.