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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Order of Visits

Deciding the ORDER of your visits is very different from simply starting at the top of your Master Prospect List and working your way down.

‘MO-CO’ – ‘LEAD-CO’ – ‘CO-CO’

Begin like Archimedes on his best day by trying to LEVERAGE your commitments… building on each previous visit and commitment as you move along.

Here’s one way to look at this: ‘MO-CO’s,’ ‘LEAD-CO’s’ and ‘CO-CO’s’:

  • MO-CO’s are MOMENTUM COMMITMENTS. These commitments are not necessarily about magnitude or size but rather ‘COMMENSURATE’… ‘SURPRISE’… and ‘STRETCH’.

    These are the ‘EARLY ADOPTERS’ who get it, buy in, and provide the MOMENTUM to get going.

    In Good To Great, Jim Collins’ world, we would call these ‘FLYWHEEL’ commitments. In order to get a FLYWHEEL moving, it takes a lot of energy at the beginning… but once there is some ‘MOMENTUM’… the wheel flies.

  • LEAD-CO’s are about LEADERSHIP COMMITMENTS that literally TRANSFORM the organization or the project or the campaign. These are ‘Top of the Pyramid’, lead gifts that create a sense of “We can do this.” Many times they prove that our best prospects/investors have ‘stepped up’, and now it’s up to the rest of us.
  • CO-CO: CONNECTOR COMMITMENTS. Going after some of your most important ‘CONNECTORS’ early on is a terrific strategy to not only get their financial commitment (which may or may not be significant) but also to generate REFERRALS and STRATEGY on getting visits with your best prospects.

Voice Mail


My primary response to the question of VOICE MAIL is that it is a function of authenticity.

I believe it is appropriate to leave a voice mail on the first follow-up call:

  • Referencing the predisposition.
  • Leaving a return number.
  • Indicating that if you don’t hear back, you will call again on (day).

After that, it’s a combination of authenticity, good judgment and professional perseverance.

  • “Sorry I missed you again. Let me know a good time to catch up. Text or my e-mail is _________.”
  • “I know we keep missing. I also know how important this is to you. I’ll keep trying until we connect.”

***This is another example of ‘Practice’… and thinking out the exact words you can use.
Nothing worse than hemming and hawing and fumbling your way through a voice mail.


Everything good in life doesn’t come easy or just happen. Getting a visit takes FOLLOW-UP and PERSEVERANCE.

Here are 3 things that might help you with this.

  • Attitude Is Everything
  • Whatever It Takes
  • Yes or No


Getting a visit is all about SFP: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy! If you’re trying to a get an ‘appointment’ with someone you are convinced doesn’t want to see you… that’s exactly what will happen.

The person responsible for getting a visit must go at this with the attitude that the:

  • Qualified Prospect wants to be with you.
  • Qualified Prospect wants to hear the opportunity.
  • Qualified Prospect will be the big winner after the visit.

This ‘attitude’ will come through on the phone.

Special Note on Authenticity: You cannot mess up a contact to set up a visit if you
are authentic!!!

  • “Really important that we meet with you.”
  • “Been trying hard to set this up because of urgency, importance, etc.”
  • “Sorry we have missed connecting so often, I’m feeling like a stalker.


I know. Old and cheesy coaching cliché. However, if you take ‘perseverance’ and ‘attitude’ down to the ‘how’… the answer is to do WHATEVER IT TAKES! Call back until they tell you not to call anymore. Stay in contact until you’ve got the visit set up. Call in all of your SUPPORT team. WHATEVER IT TAKES.

3.“YES OR NO?”

We have something we call the ‘RESPONSE TREE’. Usually only 3 answers once you get through on the phone:

  • “YES.” Awesome. Get date and time set. Follow-up with a note to confirm. Send
    any additional predisposition (#2) material for the actual visit itself.
  • “MAYBE.” “What else could I do that might help you decide on getting together? I can meet you anywhere, anytime. Would it help if you spoke with (Natural Partner) to understand more about why they are engaged with us?”
  • “NO.” If this is No – No time but still likes your organization… then you could send them a President’s Circle invitation or even a really strong follow-up letter… with a request.

    If it’s a No – “No, can’t really see this as a priority, don’t have the financial wherewithal to help”… then you would send a nice ‘thank you’ and MOVE ON!

Phone Tips From a Pro

Anyone making phone calls to set visits will benefit from these GREAT tips from Nicole, a
For-Impact visit-setter extraordinaire. Share these with your team to sharpen skills and boost
confidence before picking up the phone.

  • Be Authentic. It’s not about following a script, but about putting it in your own words.
  • Your passion shows through on the phone.
  • Don’t think of the reasons why they may not give. Think of the reason they WILL give.
  • You cannot play out every scenario in your head of the questions that you will receive on
    the phone. Just make the call and see what happens.
  • It’s OK to not have all the answers and to say, “Let me find out about this.”
  • It is all about the change/impact that the prospect can have on the organization.
  • Your prospect may already support you and are champions for your cause. You do not need
    to sell them on the cause.
  • Learn as you go.
  • The best way to start is to pick up the phone and call.
  • In case you only have a few minutes on the phone and they do not want a meeting, know
    in advance the message you want the prospect to take away from your call. You may be the
    only opportunity to talk about the impact/message.
  • Every investment has an impact.
  • Never perceive you know the prospect’s capacity. Let them tell you.
  • Based on your conversation, some people will be inspired to send in a check without
    needing to meet.
  • Everyone wants to feel that they are making a difference.
  • And, the more predisposition letters you send out, and the more calls you make,
    the more impact it will have.

OGs Note: Practice

Julia Cameron is one of my absolute favorite writers, authors, and thinkers. She shares this great quote from Theodore Roethke.

“I learn by going where I have to go.”

The best way to set up a lot of visits is to set up a lot of visits.

‘Practice’ as it relates to getting visits, is to actually ‘practice’ what you’re going to say, how you say it, how to respond, etc. Then, go where you have to go – on the phone, working through your ‘words’ to get the visit.

Here are 3 ways to think about this idea of PRACTICE.

  • The Message and the Words
  • Handle Objections
  • Do the Work


One of the best books I’ve read recently is ‘PRACTICE PERFECT’ by Doug Lemov. One of his big points is that the best teachers and coaches focus on small and seemingly mundane aspects of the work… especially on the right ‘words’ they use!

The idea here is to actually practice/test, the ways and the words.

  • Keep it simple. (Again, goal is to get visit!)
  • Keep it at 30,000’. (High altitude. No detail on phone.)
  • Keep it about the ‘story’. (Selling is not telling, unless it’s a story!)

Commit to being able to articulate your message… clearly, concisely, compellingly…in :30 seconds! Then, add ‘story’ after they have responded.


Important to be able to pre-think (not sure that’s a word but you get my point) how you’re going to handle the normal objections.

  • “I’m in. We don’t have to meet.” (Response could be as simple as “I know you’re in. We just haven’t met in a while and I have some really cool stuff to SHOW YOU around _________, ____________, __________.”)
  • “What is this about?” (Response: “We have a plan called Vision 2015 that I would love to share with you. You are one of our most committed Champions and we really want to get your feedback.”)
  • Why do we need to meet?” (Response: “We’re meeting with Community Leaders, like you” or “I really want to show you how we are presenting our Message and Story…”)

Bottom Line: We need to convince them that we need a little bit of their time… for a really big impact.


Steven Pressfield’s DO THE WORK is another one of those great books that captures everything you need to know on the cover/in the title.

In this case, SOMEONE just has to DO THE WORK. Block out 90 minutes. Get on the phone. Make your calls. Do the follow-up. Do the work.

Team Selling

As you can see, this PREDISPOSITION thing is about TEAM SELLING.

This simple visual should give you an even better understanding of how this works.



To get a visit (for the Sales Team), you can set up the visit by using:

  • The Actual Sales Person
  • A Strong Support Person
  • An Even Stronger Natural Partner

This is the opportunity for your board, volunteer leaders or campaign leadership to do something that they can do and then even want to do (especially if you give them a choice of ‘asking for money’ or ‘setting up a visit’!!!)

You can use all members of your stakeholder group to help get the visit. It could be your CEO, President, a well thought of doctor, a key dean or faculty member, a teacher or coach with 25 years of relationships… whomever.

This is also a wonderful way to engage your current investors and build upon their relationship! Have them make the call to set up the visit for you … and if they’ll go with you, that’s awesome. If not, that’s okay.

*Look at the examples in the outer circle of Natural Partners… and determine who would
be best ‘connector’ to get visits for your very best prospects.


We are professionals. We do not make COLD CALLS!

We always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor to our phone call to set up
the visit… to the visit/presentation itself… and to the follow-up.


The word PREDISPOSE means exactly what it says. (Weird, huh?). We are literally (not figuratively) predisposing the person or persons in advance, to our contact.

Note: Predisposition is not ‘cultivation’! (Cultivation is when you spread manure on crops.)

Here are 3 ideas to help you with PREDISPOSITION (#1), to set up visit.

  • The Goal
  • G.T.A.: Grab Their Attention
  • 3° of Separation



The goal is to GET THE VISIT! It is not to ‘sell on the phone’!

With a really strong predisposition e-mail or letter, the follow-up phone call becomes very assumptive/presumptive!

“I’m following up on the note that you received from (Natural Partner) and I’d like to see if you might available next Tuesday morning? Or would Wednesday afternoon be better?”

This is not a Tom Hopkins (Sales Training Guru) spiel. It Works. Idea: Have someone else set up the visit! I know this is somewhat sacrilegious to many people, but I’ve found it to be the single most effective way to get visits.

*This is especially important if you are full-time Development Officer/Major Gift Officer/Chief Development Officer with a portfolio. You should be making presentations, not setting up visits.

In the predisposition note, the sender/Natural Partner simple closes the end of the note with “I have asked Phyllis to follow-up with you to set up a visit with (MGO).”

Note: I believe my ‘boss’/administrative assistant, Phyllis, can get me a visit with anybody! Having worked together for 19 years, we use this exact system. When Phyllis calls, she is not ‘worried’ at all about answering a bunch of questions or trying to ‘sell’ someone. She’s doing exactly what we communicated to the prospect/potential investor… following up.

Tip: Sometimes the easiest way to schedule is by using someone else you are visiting with that day or week. “Tom is going to be visiting with Jim W. at 10:00 on Tuesday. Could he meet with you before or after that?”

Or, use geography, “Tom will be in Cincinnati next week, and would love to spend 20 minutes with you if that works.”

*Assumes this is a trip.

GTA means be creative… set yourself apart… stand out!

One of the best ideas on this is using a ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ as predisposition.

Turn that gala/signature event into both predisposition and grabbing their attention! Actually say that evening that someone will be following up with you to set up a visit. Or, ‘cherry picking’ 50 or 60 of the very best prospects out of the 1,000 people who attended who get a very customized follow-up note… setting up the phone call to schedule the visit.

We have also used a WOW PACKAGE to ensure that the person knew how important this visit was. Rather than an e-mail, actually sending a letter, with some visuals, and then indicating that this is what we want to share or talk about. Just thinking creatively will set you apart.

Fun Note: *I’m not suggesting you go as far as the extraordinary ad man, Jay Chiat, did. He said this his secret for getting people to take his calls was to call the person’s secretary and say, “Tell so and so his DOCTOR is on the line, and I have the results of his test.” (Chiat claimed that they would rush to the phone.)

My personal favorite creative story is around that busy, always traveling executive, whose secretary/gatekeeper always responds with, “Sorry, he’s traveling or he’s out of town.”

I simply ask the gatekeeper where the prospect’s next trip is going to be. She always asks, “Why?” And I respond, “Because I’d like to get a ticket and just fly with him so that we can talk while he’s on the plane!” (It’s really hard for someone to not be engaged at 30,000’. And, if you can get them on the window and you get the aisle, you can ensure there’s nowhere for them to go.)

The whole Kevin Bacon, 6° thing is just wrong. It’s been determined it’s actually 2.78
moves or connections between Kevin Bacon and any other actor.

Please pay attention: You are only 3° away from anybody who is a QUALIFIED PROSPECT!

First, it is very important that you note the term ‘QUALIFIED PROSPECT’. That means that there is a STRONG RELATIONSHIP to your CAUSE or CASE. (It does not mean a ‘relationship’ with you or another individual!)

Then, IF they are truly QUALIFIED PROSPECTS… you can use your NATURAL PARTNERS (Champions, Board Members, Key Volunteer Leaders, other Current Investors, etc.) to make the contact and the connection… and help set up the VISIT!!!

Here is the best way to explain this.

I am only 3° away from the Pope, the President or the Prime Minster of Israel.

I reach out to one of the most amazing human beings on the planet, Fr. Ted Hesburgh (with
whom I had the incredible experience of working with on the Campaign for Notre Dame). Fr.
Ted calls someone in the Vatican… who then sets up meeting with the Pope.

To get to the President, I simply hit speed dial for Dick former Governor of Ohio, Ambassador
to India, President of Colorado College and now Senior Counsel with The Suddes Group. Dick
has Bill Clinton on his speed dial. Bill calls President’s office and sets up visit (since he worked
really hard to get President elected,)

For the Prime Minister of Israel, I call anyone of a handful of Jewish leaders that we have
worked with and ask them to make a phone call or reach out to someone in Israel who can
then reach out to the Prime Minister. (I know. Probably not a good time to do this. He’s busy.
Just trying to make a point.)

One last story. I am only One Natural Partner away from the Dalai Lama.

At an international conference, I poured (fire hose?) my energy, heart and soul
into a keynote talk. Afterwards, a wonderful woman came up and said, “Thank
you. I learned so much… I will never forget this day.” Then she put her long
white scarf around my neck and said, (BTW) “My brother is the Dalai Lama.”

*If you want more on this, there are two great books on this phenomena, 6 DEGREES by
Duncan J. Watts
and LINKED by Albert Barabasi.

The Visit Story

Perhaps your process to get a visit goes like this:

[A phone call or email from the ‘development officer.’] “Could we come and see you to talk to you about our annual campaign?”

There IS a story here … But it’s a BAD (VISIT) STORY.

  • Development
  • Annual Campaign
  • No ‘WHY.’ No ‘IMPACT.’

Here are some thoughts to help you create a GREAT (VISIT) STORY.

  • Go back to our core message: Impact Drives Income. WHY are we visiting? WHAT are we trying to do [IMPACT]? WHY do we want this person’s time? Is it to ask for money? Or, is it to help change lives, save lives and impact lives?
    • “We are visiting with people to talk about HOW to transform education in our community.”
    • “We are engaging key stakeholders in a conversation about the future of health care in our community.”
    • “This is a movement; you are part of it. We have light years to go to change [insert cause]. This is an important conversation and we hope to have thousands more like it throughout the country …”
    • “We will be sharing where we’re going and asking for your help.
  • The story you tell yourself is AS important – if not MORE important – than the story voice. You must BELIEVE this is a phone call to change and save lives. If you believe this, your SPIRIT will trump any script. If you don’t believe this, a script will not help.
  • Be Assumptive.
    Nobody wants to have a visit to talk about money.


    And yet, some $300 Billion is given away in the US each year.

    Why is this?

    Because just about everybody wants to make a difference. Just about everyone wants to help.

    Everyone you’re meeting with (or hoping to meet with) WANTS TO CHANGE THE WORLD! They want to have exhilarating discussions about making a difference. They just don’t want to have a meeting about ‘giving money.’ Giving money is a means to an end.

  • Don’t make decisions for the prospects! Just a reminder.
  • Bonus thought: Part of the STORY is about the PEOPLE on the visit.

    This is a great team-selling tip: YOU are a cool person!

    Have a board member or natural partner help to open the door with this story, “You’re going to really enjoy spending 30 minutes with Stephanie. She’s a rock star … one of those people that makes us all want to do more to change the world. Stephanie and her team are amazing social entrepreneurs.”

OGs Note: A Story to Get you Started

The most visits I’ve ever made in one day is 13. Here’s the story…

Jim Frick was my boss and mentor at Notre Dame. As Vice President for Development, Jim was one of the early pioneers in the college and university fundraising arena.

One day at a meeting with the entire Development Team, he was encouraging (in Jim’s case it was more exhorting and prodding) the five Development Officers to get out and make more visits.

He said he had made 12 visits in one day… and couldn’t understand why we weren’t making more visits.

I was a ‘young pup’ Regional Director of Development. I was also pretty competitive. I decided I was going to try to break Jim’s record. I set up 13 visits in one day in Indianapolis. I asked my two best Champions and Natural Partners to help me set them up. It turned into a ‘game’. I was running around downtown Indianapolis. Never got in a car. Had a number of people meeting me in Bill McGowan’s office. Started with a 7:00 a.m. breakfast and finished with a 7:00 p.m. dinner.

Visits were brief and not very productive. I think I might have raised $50,000 or $75,000 that day. All about QUANTITY over QUALITY


Our 3X3X3 strategy is a practical and productive approach to this paradox. 3 visits a day… 3 days a week… 3 weeks out of the month. This allows a full-time Major Gift Officer or Development Officer to make 25 to 30 visits a month… and allows quality time for setting up the visit and for follow-up.

Getting a Visit is both an ATTITUDE and a ‘SKILL’ (or even better a ‘SYSTEM’).

With that said, I’ve tried to summarize 40 years in the field (20 of them trying to get ‘appointments’… and the last 20 having much more success getting ‘visits’) in a way that will help you get visits with your best prospects. Following are some nuggets and ideas framed within


I hope this helps.

How to Get a Visit