The Power of Personal Connection

A face to face ask is 34 times more effective than sending an email -

Harvard Business Review 2017.

If there is just one thing I have learned over the last 30 years of fundraising it is to always ask in person.  Indeed, not just for fundraising purposes but for anything you truly want in life.

After many years of running and directing capital campaigns, I have always extolled the benefit of talking to people and making that crucial ask in person.  It is often what someone is not saying that is as important as what they are saying and you must always take heed of the ‘in between the lines’ narrative.

Nowadays it is all too easy to hide behind technology.  We endeavour to take shortcuts and simplify the process using a tool we have come to rely on too often – the dreaded email!  For sure emails have their place in communication but they will never be an effective part of asking for large donations, apart from confirming the date and time of that important face to face meeting.

It is only when you are seated opposite someone that you can convey with clarity your own passion for the project in question and, hopefully, inspire your prospective giver to demonstrate the said level of commitment that you have shown.  How often have all of us misread the intentions in an email or misunderstood its message?

Therefore, I was delighted to read in a Business Review that I truly respect that they also believe in the power of the face to face.

https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-face-to-face-request-is-34-times-more-successful-than-an-email

The Importance of Body Language in Making an Ask

Language is a more recent form of communication, your indirect connection with anyone is first through your eyes, mannerisms, body language, energy and enthusiasm. How well you authentically communicate via your actions vs verbal and oral speech will determine buy-in from the recipient

Only 7% of communication is verbal – a whopping 55% is your body language and eye contact! 

Eye contact. It is one of the first levels of connection with a person. Think about your reaction to someone who does not look you in the eye. It is a way of showing you are listening, demonstrates your confidence and shows how sincere you are.

Facial expressions. Too often people forget that facial expressions are critical to competent communication, are you scowling, take a moment to check yourself, practice in front of a mirror. Smile early and often, it shows positive energy and confidence

Posture. Your posture says a lot about who you are and whether you should be taken seriously.  Stand tall to communicate confidence and professionalism, even while sitting posture conveys a huge amount about your mindset and commitment. Sit towards the front of your chair and lean in for the ask.            

Gestures. Gestures are an extension of communication whose purpose is to enhance verbal communication, they add impact by showing confidence and demonstrate credibility.

The Tone of your voice …listen to your voice’s inflections, speed of your speech and tone.  If your voice inflects to a higher pitch at the end of your sentences like you are asking a question you will not sound confident or credible.

And remember your visit should be 25% talking and 75% listening.

WORDS & TONE THAT TAP INTO GIVING

Although there may not be a formula for instant fundraising success, the psychology of giving reveals there are certain words and best practices that can induce a higher rate of giving. 

THANK YOU

The way you “thank ' your donors is just as important as your “please.” Thank them in a timely manner, inform them about the progress of your campaign, and let them know how their contributions helped make a difference. 

TONE

A crucial part of your ask lies in its tone. Donors are more likely to give when contributing is personally meaningful to them. Customise your language so they can link supporting your cause with their personal connection. 

HELPFUL

People respond to being asked for help, an adjective that has shown to increase the size of gifts 

GENEROUS

The 'generous' contributions from a closed community instil confidence in the person being asked and makes them feel part of that community 

HONEST

Open, honest communication is key when making an ask. Make the person you are asking feel comfortable and be honest with them about your gift. 

MATCH & MIRROR 

One important way you can infuse your asks with these words is to consider how different segments of your supporters might respond to different words and build your language accordingly. 

#CAPITALFUNDRAISING

#LANGUAGEOFGIVING

Making An Ask

Here are some of the things we encourage people to do when making an ask 

  • Be fully briefed 
  • Be aware of the objective
  • Be confident 
  • Be prepared - plan and rehearse before you go 
  • Give yourself time 
  • Ask yourself ' Why am I supporting / giving to the campaign ?'
  • Ask yourself ' Why am I involved ' 
  • Ask yourself ' Will they see me as committed ?' 
  • Do your homework, find out about the people you are meeting with 
  • Listen Listen Listen to questions and concerns
  • Share and show the benefits of the project
  • Communication is not just talking - WATCH & LISTEN
  • Be ready to say " I have given, where do you see yourself on the scale of giving?'

 

The Importance of Leadership to a Successful Capital Campaign

Leading by example is one of the ten principles of Capital fundraising that runs through every campaign that we at Hutt & Co manage. A successful campaign is always headed by strong leadership.  The leader must be sincere and care passionately about the project and leaders of capital fundraising campaigns must give to the project.

COMMITMENT
If the leader of an organisation has not bought into the capital project and the campaign, it indicates that the project is not the correct one and risks a breakdown of relationships and commitment throughout the organisation.  

BRAVE, BOLD and AUDACIOUS
Leaders of successful campaigns think audaciously, they are courageous in their thinking and bold in their actions. Doing nothing in a capital fundraising campaign has its consequences!

CLARITY OF PURPOSE AND VISION

A strong leader will have the vision to see where the project is going but will also look further ahead of the end of the campaign and into the future. They will also be empowered and confident in making a commitment to action. 

 

 

 

 

Funding in Grammar Schools - Bridging the Gap

Tuesday November 7th saw the inaugural round table workshop at Hutt & Co, we invited heads of some of the UK's leading grammar schools to come along to share their experiences of fundraising and share some of the best practise in today's environment.

Financial pressures on grammar schools are at a critical point. Parents recognise and understand the financial squeeze in the sector, noting that schools are underfunded. This represents a key opportunity for fundraising. The big question is how schools respond.

Parent’s expectations of a grammar school education are high both in terms of anticipation of examination results and value added in extracurricular opportunities at schools.

The group discussed some of the fundraising options available ranging from annual funds, monthly giving to capital fundraising campaigns and the importance of the school engagement in the process. A key element of the discussion was around the role of the Headteacher vs a Development Director and how these could and should work together. 

It was agreed that whatever the route taken that the key person to spearhead a campaign is the Headteacher and that their involvement is key to the success of any campaign.

In conclusion schools are under unprecedented financial pressure. This is widely recognised and creates a receptive donor base to approach for fundraising support. Schools should identify the need, communicate this to potential donors, identify the right fundraising option and through their commitment to this, achieve a successful campaign to deliver benefits to pupils.