6 Solicitation Statements That Should Never Have Been Uttered

But unfortunately, they were.  Be sure to avoid solicitation statements like these, or you’ll end up with nothing!

1.  I’m so very, very sorry to call you about the annual giving campaign for Upper Crust High.

Many years back I volunteered to assist my children’s school with their parent phonathon. Much to my surprise, the caller next to me began every one of his solicitation calls with a similar statement. After his third strikeout, I suggested he follow the script we were given, which was very good. A switch to a more positive approach yielded him better results. The number one rule in asking for a gift is to never, never apologize for asking for funding, unless it is a truly unworthy cause.

2.  Just pledge $10 tonight. You can always raise it online.

This is a great tactic to get a donor off the phone quickly and secure a pledge far beneath what the individual may be willing to give. This statement was overheard at a phonathon a week ago. The caller got a number of $10 gifts, even from those who gave significantly more in previous years.  This is a successful strategy to help raise less money than the previous year.

3.  You may not want to give this year, seeing as how your daughter has had some health issues, but if you do, I’ll take down your pledge.

I was on the receiving end of this solicitation some years back, which was a surprise because we were planning to make a gift at the same level as the previous year. And the daughter in question had never attended the school; our other two children were alumni. But after this call, which left us scratching our heads, we didn’t make an immediate pledge. And after a couple of months, we completely forgot. Interestingly, they’ve never called us again.

4.  We’re calling everyone and I, unfortunately, got assigned your name.

If I were the development director at this institution I would right about now regret that this caller showed up for her shift. However, I bet that the prospect is regretting the call even more.

5.  I want you to give something; I don’t care what it is.

After all, your gift really doesn’t matter. Or maybe I don’t think you have the ability or generous intent to give something meaningful. But I sure would like to check the box that says you are giving something and move on to the next call.

6.  Just pledge. That will count toward participation. You don’t have to actually pay it.