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The “perfect” meeting with a prospective donor may be nearly impossible to achieve, but there are some common mistakes that you can avoid. Here are some things that you shouldn’t do when meeting with someone who is considering donating to your organization.

Not Preparing for the Meeting

If you’re involved with any kind of fundraising effort, you probably have an all-purpose “elevator pitch” that will explain why you’re raising money. This is definitely useful to have, but it isn’t always enough. If you’re going to sit down with a prospective donor for a meeting, you need to do a little more preparation. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your organization’s campaign and your donor to come up with some compelling reasons why they would want to make a donation. Think of some common questions they might ask, and be ready with some good answers. In other words, you need to make sure you know what you’re getting into when it comes to asking for donations.

Meeting in a Loud Public Place

Coffee shops and restaurants make for popular casual meeting places, but it’s tough to actually have an important conversation at a Starbucks. Not only do you have no privacy, but there are distractions everywhere. A meeting in an office at the donor’s place of business will be much more productive. If you must meet at a coffee shop, choose someplace that’s a little more out of the way, and schedule a meeting during a time that won’t be too busy.

Making It All About You

Always remember that you are merely a representative of the organization in need of a donation. This means that you should keep the meeting all about what your organization does and why it needs donations. Donors don’t want to hear about your personal life or any invested interest that you have in what they have to give.

Not Asking for a Specific Donation

When you go into your meeting, try to keep a specific amount in mind for a donation and be ready to ask for it. That amount may change during the course of the meeting depending on what is said, but never just ask for a general donation. Donors will be more likely to help you if you can put a specific dollar amount on a donation, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. Even if they say no, they may counter with a lower offer that will still help you reach your fundraising goals.