Professional philanthropy means I've spent my entire career facing Big Asks, and I'm proud to say that Big Asks aren't only manageable - you can even learn to love them!
THE LADY WITH THE BIG ASK is here to teach you what it takes to ask for what you want and get it - from donors, board members, bosses, coworkers, employees, and in your life.
Philanthropy Expert and Transformational Change Agent
OCTOBER 25, 2018
CALLING SOMEONE YOU'VE NEVER MET
Relationships are key to a successful Big Ask. We may spend years building the personal connections that keep donors engaged and motivated. But how do you make a successful Big Ask when you don't know the person you're calling? What if you've never even met?
Most people dread the idea of cold-calling - in fact some folks feel it's just as nerve-wracking as speaking in public! But before you pretend to have laryngitis or that you lost your phone, remember this: Every friendship between people begins as two strangers. The person you're calling is not an obstacle or a target - they're a potential friend. One that could turn out to be a huge asset to your organization's future success.
The key to maximizing the potential relationship of a cold-call is preparation. You may think that just taking a deep breath and diving in is the best way to overcome nerves, but having a game plan will keep your message clear and your demeanor calm, friendly, and professional.
Using a script to guide you is a very valuable tool - just remember to use your own words during your call! A script should simply serve as a touchstone to help you remember your talking points, and keep you prepared to answer questions clearly and concisely.
Below are some sample scripts to get you started developing your own personalized approach, plus some potential practice questions and responses to prepare you to navigate even the trickiest conversations!
Once you've used these samples to draft your own call script - practice it! Saying your sentences out loud just a few times will help it feel more natural when you make that first call, and role-playing the conversation (either in your head or out loud with a co-worker) is a great way to get prepared. Some people even find that practicing in front of a mirror can dispel the butterflies.
Still feeling apprehensive? One of my favorite ways of addressing fear is viewing it as the acronym, "False Evidence Appearing Real." In other words, there's nothing to be afraid of!
What IS real is that you work for an organization that does meaningful work, you're prepared to talk confidently about it, and you're about to secure a meeting that's the start of a great donor relationship!