Best Time to Ask a Major Donor for that First Gift

in Acquisition & Prospecting,Fundraising

If you’re trying to get that first gift from a prospective major donor, what’s the best time of day to meet with them?

Based on research outlined in Neuromarketing blog, avoid the times right before lunch or at the end of the day.

Why avoid these times of the day to bring a new major donor on board?

Because you’re asking for a “change” from the status quo (they haven’t donated to you before, and supporting you likely means they’ll stop supporting another charity; that’s a BIG change)

Your prospective major donor is facing a significant decision (there’s a lot to consider when contemplating a major gift)

Their energy level is low and they’re experiencing mental fatigue

Therefore they’re more inclined to say “NO” because that simplifies their decision

The article suggests – somewhat tongue-in-cheek – that if you can’t avoid meeting right before lunch or at the end of the day … then bring something to boost your prospective donor’s energy level.  The catch is that you can’t force them to eat the sweet treat or drink the juice.

What if you’re asking for a second gift?

On the other hand, if your charity is the status quo … you’re visiting a major donor who has given to you before … then perhaps you want to schedule a meeting at a low energy time of the day.

Neuromarketing suggests that if you’re the status quo, and the major donor is happy with everything you’re doing and how you’re treating them … these may be the best times of the day to get a renewed commitment and another gift.

Although the article and the research it references aren’t specific to nonprofits and major donors, people are people

And clarification in the comments to the article state that this testing is consistent with other forms of choice fatigue.  Tired brains look for the easiest way to make a decision.

One more tip for having a successful face-to-face meeting with major donors: Don’t immediately launch into business.  Yes, respect their time but open with some friendly conversation

Socialize a bit first to create a rapport.  According to another post on Neuromarketing (It Really DOES Pay to Schmooze), this personalized conversation lays the groundwork for mutual respect and trust.  And the likelihood of reaching an agreement/decision that satisfies both you and the major donor increases.

Something to consider when scheduling appointments with major donors.

Related posts:

Consider why people don’t give when trying to persuade them to donate … Why people do not give to your charity

Storytelling is a powerful tool when helping major donors – or any supporter – make a decision … How science helps you write better fundraising stories

Neuromarketing article referenced above … Sales Secret: The Best Time to Close