Combat The Sitting Disease with Major Gifts Visits

by Karen Osborne

Maybe you read about this.  For every hour we sit after age 25, we lose 21.8 minutes of life-expectancy.  Compare that to smoking for example, 11 minutes lost for each cigarette smoked, and one realizes how important this new research is.  We need to get up.

Here are great prevention strategies for The Sitting Disease!

  1. Make appointments to go see your donors!  We can’t think of a better way for fund development professionals to stay healthy and lead a long and productive life.  Nothing beats an in-person meeting, one that is purposeful, strategic and engaging.
  2. Stand up when you make the appointment.  It will help with the sitting disease PLUS put energy in your voice.  People will want to be with you. Don’t forget to smile.
  3. Have a standing strategy meeting.  As you prepare for your visits, gather trusted colleagues but don’t sit down.  Brainstorming is often more effective when everyone involved is on his or her feet.  Put up an easel and flip chart. In five minutes or less, explain the key facts about the donor – motivations, values, interests, decision-makers, engagement to date, capacity, inclination and readiness to give.  Then, succinctly, state the issue and seek input.  Listen.  Take notes on the flip chart paper so everyone can see them, comment on them.  After ten minutes, fifteen on the outside, thank everyone and then return to your office to sift through the ideas and decide what you will do.
  4. Give three reasons. Okay, so this one doesn’t prevent the sitting disease but it’s still a good idea.  One reason can be handled with a phone call.  Even two.  But give three and we have a meeting.  Make sure the reasons are appealing to the donor. Seek advice, ideas, engagement rather than “I want to update you on what’s going on.”
  5. Inspire them to come to your site, campus, see your work up close and personal.  But instead of sitting in a conference room and folks coming to them, walk and talk.  Help your donors prevent the sitting disease as well.

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