For Impact


Getting the Visit – Tips for Improving Your Visit Strategy

Funding | | Nick Fellers

Here are some things to think about if you’re having trouble getting a visit. Think of these as ingredients you can tweak within your visit and predisposition strategy. 

  • Change the predisposition message.

    Example of a bad message: “I want to talk to you about our fundraising campaign.”

    Uber-basic reasons to meet that entail a stronger message:

    • This is something that would appeal to you (Impact / legacy / solution).
    • Personal (“Support me!” If you have a personal relationship).
    • Novelty (Meet this entrepreneur).
  • Change the medium.

    Perhaps your email is lost in a digital communications clutter. We often look at other innovative ways to cut through the clutter: sending books, sending a FedEx package (eg. a book), making a phone call.

    Just yesterday we were working with a client who called the prospect (after two unanswered emails), only to learn that the prospect HAD been responding with enthusiasm but the prospect’s reply emails were being stopped by a spam filter on the prospect’s side!!!
  • Change the messenger.

    One way to help with the previous two points is by changing the messenger (i.e., the person reaching out to the prospect). Related: If we don’t have a natural partner – someone who can reach out to the prospect on our behalf – WE can be the messenger.
  • Change the ‘receiver.’

    If the prospect is a corporation or a foundation, consider reaching out to another contact within the organization.
  • Change the ask. (Another form of changing the message.)

    A question to ask ourselves is, “What would it take to get in the door?” Often, we predispose toward a funding intent–if that message isn’t landing, consider the following:

    • Use a two-step visit / ask. The first visit is explicitly an opportunity to (re-)engage and (re-)establish a personal connection, while also using the in-person setting to predispose the funding conversation… which happens on the next visit. (This ties into cutting through the clutter of digital communications.)
    • Invite them to an event or experience, and use that as an engagement pathway (see below).
  • Change the engagement pathway.

    A 1:1 visit and ask / discussion are the engagement strategies to maximize investment, but other forms of engagement can be helpful to support this effort.

    Examples of engagement pathways:

    • Connector outreach (peer-to-peer) introduction
    • Direct/connector invite to an event or experience
    • “Same place yourself as the prospect” (attend a social functions or designated conferences)

Finally, persistence should not be ruled out. As a default, we reach out to a qualified prospect 10+ times before we remove them from a portfolio. In those ten outreach attempts, we change up the predisposition strategy (message / ask / engagement pathways).