How To Respond To Donors When They Say “No” or “I Don’t Know”

Author: MJ Pedone June 10, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to take “no” for an answer. Long are gone of the days where I had to accept that dreaded word when I was rejected in my ploy. But I do believe that rejection is a big issue for most especially when it comes to donor requests. I know I want to shout from the rooftop and do the happy dance when my sponsors say yes so why shouldn’t you?

Here are a few questions to ask the donors who are unsure.

1. Is there additional information I can provide that will assist you with making a decision?

2. Does the timing of my request have anything to do with your decision?  Is there a better time of the year to ask and do you or your organization follow a philanthropy schedule?

3. Can I provide any of our organizations documents in order to help with your decision?

What to say when your potential donor has had a bad experience with your organization.

1. I’m sorry to hear that. With your permission, I would like look into this situation and find out why this happened?

2. That is why I am here today in order to prevent this from happening again, Can you provide suggestions on what we should do differently?

3. Is there anything I can do to make this up to you? I really want to make this up to you.

What to say when you realize the person you are speaking with is not the ultimate decision maker.

1. I sense that you are reluctant. Is there someone else we should include in our next conversation?

2. Is there additional information I should share with anyone else?

3. I sense that you make decisions with others aka your wife, husband, or financial adviser. Can we schedule a meeting for all of us to meet?

How to deal with an emphatic “No!”

1. I hear that you aren’t interested. Would you mind telling me why?

2. I’m disappointed to hear that and I want to do a good job for our organization. Is there anything we could do better so that you might be interested in our cause at another time?

3. Is this your final decision or may I contact you in 6 to 12 months? With your permission, I would like to send you updates that would keep you informed on what our organization is doing.

The good news is that reluctance is informational and certainly a great way to find out the facts. If you hear the same thing over and over, it is time to make major changes in your organization and strategy. When you hear Yes, you leave richer and when you hear No, you leave smarter. Either way, you win and should still do the happy dance.

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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