Four Steps to Success

I was with my colleague, Bill Sturtevant, the other day. He told me about James Benson— who was CEO of Equitable Life and MetLife.

Benson was one of the most successful life insurance salesmen in the country. His formula for success would be just as appropriate for the fundraiser.

Identify. Cultivate. Illuminate. Close.

It all begins with identification. If you can’t determine who you should be calling on and what your final destination should be, you have no idea of how to even begin the journey.

You know how important cultivation is. There are some who are ready to give to you on the first contact. But you know full well that you will do better and raise more if there is some cultivation. You don’t make a pickle by sprinkling a little vinegar over a cucumber. You have to immerse it. You can’t sell a vision in 45-minutes. Just be careful not to Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, Aim— before you fire.

Tell your story. Show how your organization is relevant. Make it compelling. And there needs to be a sense of urgency— this project cannot wait.

At some point, you have to finally ask for the gift. It’s absolutely amazing how much you don’t raise if you don’t ask.