We’re Not in the Business of Sales, Here.

I couldn’t get to sleep the other night and while channel surfing I stumbled on Glengarry Glen Ross. I always love to watch Alec Baldwin’s character Blake’s hilarious (yet painful) soliloquy where he drives home the point: “A.B.C. Always Be Closing.” While Blake’s foul language and my laughter didn’t do much to help me sleep, it did get me thinking…

What is the goal of many nonprofit planned giving departments?

Finding, nurturing, and then closing planned gift commitments.

On the surface, that makes sense. You have to obtain real dollar commitments in order to sustain the organization and its mission.  But in order to close or finalize a planned gift commitment, a nonprofit professional needs to understand the goals, desires and intent of a potential planned giver.

And that is tough.

Our research tells us that only 34% of nonprofit donors will ever tell a nonprofit about their planned-giving intentions. A planned gift is an emotional decision—it’s personal. And most of the time it’s not disclosed until the time of the donor’s passing.

Receiving a bequest commitment is not a transaction or a ‘quick sale.’ You’re not sharing features of the vehicle, handing them a pen and signing on the dotted line. You can’t just put a bow on it and call it a day.

Instead, you must build relationships with potential donors. This comes through everyday interactions and engagements where you learn about lives, interests, passions, problems, families and jobs.

Planned gifts take time and requires nurturing and stewardship that you don’t always see in sales. Knowing this can help nonprofit professionals be smarter, successful and not focus solely on “Always Be Closing.”

rbw-imageInterested in a time-tested system that over the past 20 years has helped hundreds of development professionals be more effective in building relationships with donors and close more gifts? Learn more about Stelter’s Relationship Building Workshop here.

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