Generous Donor Refused (how qualified business slipped away)

Generous Donor Refused

Picture this. You are a fund development director for a respectable school at a well-known state university. Someone calls and says they wish to donate $25,000 for a special scholarship fund in honor of her deceased brother, an alumnus of the school. What would you say? If you think like we do, you'd say, "So sorry about your brother. Thank you for selecting us. When can we get your check!"

In this case, the fund development director responded, "Sorry, we have a minimum donation of $50,000." The prospective donor then said, "In addition, I have a huge bequest in my will for your school. That would put you well over your minimum. Surely that would satisfy your requirements." The development director stuck to her understanding of the rules and let the donor ?and her money?go.

Instead of reporting the regrettable situation to the dean of the school (the fund development director's boss), the donor changed her will and has designated all of her money elsewhere. What are the chances that the dean ? the boss - will ever hear about the sizable scholarship and donation that didn't make it into their bank account?

Actionable Improvements
We often find blind spots within our clients' organizations in the areas of incoming lead capture. For one of our clients, we recommended the establishment of a checks and balances system for analyzing all leads that come via their front desk and via their web site. The analysis of the leads or inquiries is not just left with one person. Anyone who answers the phone is expected to log all calls that come in (a system can be designed to make that really painless). Several people are charged with reviewing all inquiries that come to the website. This may seem redundant, yet each person interprets a "lead" differently. As a result, many different creative responses to leads have brought in business that may have been ignored or rejected. Your goal should be to prevent prospects from slipping through the cracks.

Every executive should have ongoing discussions with those they supervise to make sure they have a healthy understanding about what it takes to be creative when prospects call. It may also include occasional mystery shopping from an outside resource.

If you are one of the People at the Top, how confident are you that no qualified business is being turned away?

Darcie Davis, President of Davis, Kingsley & Company. Darcie is a management consultant, speaker, author and trainer. She works with companies to secure genuine feedback from their clients before advising them on strategic decisions about sales, marketing, and operations. Her advice will keep your clients out of the jaws of the competition. Learn more about Darcie and the services offered at her firm at:

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