Getting the Appointment

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

Master Fundraiser Jerold Panas said in a GuideStar article, that when you get the appointment, you are already 85% of the way towards getting that major gift. He likes to think of the appointment as a “visit”. An appointment has a unpleasant connotation, line a dental appointment. But a visit has a different feel, giving your prospect an opportunity to invest in making a positive difference in people’s lives.

Mr. Panas recommends that you always send a letter to the prospect prior to making the phone call because it is the most effective way possible of securing the “visit”. And it saves you 5 or 10 minutes of trying to explain why you want to visit with the prospect.

Write a script for what you plan to say on the phone call. Keep the small talk brief, and focus on setting a time for your visit. Give them a choice of two dates for the meeting. Your script might look like:

“Hi, Mary. This is Jerry Panas. I sent you a letter the other day about the new library at the Middletown School. Can I visit with you and John next Tuesday or Thursday at 2pm?”

Practice the script several times prior to making the call, but don’t risk sounding flat by reading it to the prospect. Have your calendar handy to make it easy to find a mutually convenient date and time. Tell the prospect how much time you will need, and ask them if that is OK?

Don’t fall into the trap of making your presentation over the phone. It won’t work. Focus on getting the date and time for your visit.

Follow-up your phone call with a brief letter of confirmation and appreciation. You are now 85% of the way towards getting that major gift donation.

You can read Mr. Panas’s complete article by going to

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,