“Hello, It’s Me”: Development Advice from Adele

By: Elizabeth Smith, Project Coordinator

Maybe Adele worked in development and fundraising before becoming a star because her new song “Hello” has some great advice for those of us in the development field.

“Hello, it’s me, I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet to go over everything.”

  • Even cold prospects can become good prospects. Take a look at previous donors and see if they should to be cultivated for a new gift. Set a meeting with them to discuss why they haven’t been giving in the past years and listen to their concerns, if any. Sometimes people just need to be noticed and heard.

“I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be.”

  • Use tools like referencing a place or thing you’ve discussed before to create the “in.” It shows the prospect that you were paying attention the last time you met and remember them and the conversation you had.

“Hello from the other side, I must’ve called a thousand times.”

  • Ever feel like someone is ignoring your calls? Maybe think of a new approach like send an invitation to an event, ask them to get involved in a committee, or ask a peer to reach out to them. Get creative with your approach!

“At least I can say that I’ve tried.”

  • Don’t be discouraged by a lack of response. Try, try again! If you still haven’t gotten a response, you might not be the right solicitor. Instead of putting the donor on the back burner, pass them off to someone else who might be a better fit. Remember that it is not about your ego, but closing the gift.

“Hello, how are you? It’s so typical of me to talk about myself, I’m sorry.”

  • Keep the conversation donor centered. Get to know their likes, dislikes, and what drives them. Restate their concerns and listen to ideas. Follow up with the donor appropriately.

“It’s no secret that the both of us are running out of time.”

  • Urgency can be a motivating factor for prospects. For larger capital campaign gifts, often times donors want to drag their feet but creating a deadline like a signing ceremony or recognition event will help to get them to commit.

“Hello from the outside.”

  • No one wants to be on the outside. Treat the prospect like an insider. Making the donor feel special and like an insider will help their connection with the organization. They will then turn around to their friends, co-workers, and family to be advocates for your organization.

Even if Adele wasn’t in development, she sure does know a thing or two about raising money. I gave her $10.99 last Friday when her new CD came out. Unfortunately for Adele, she made the one mistake of leaving money on the table because I would’ve paid more for the album.

Songwriters: Kurstin, Gregory / Adkins, Adele

Published By: Lyrics © SONY/ATV Music Publishing LLC