Posts tagged ‘dealing with rejection’

June 8, 2018

Ouch! How to Take the Sting Out of Rejection.

Rejection stings. When a donor refuses our warm invitation to meet, it bothers us. When a prospect refuses to donate in response to our carefully crafted appeal, it frustrates us.

While no one enjoys rejection, we tend not to think about it too much. After all, every fundraising professional has to cope with it, some more than others. However, ignoring rejection or simply accepting it as a fact of life does nothing to address its corrosive effect on fundraising efforts.

We can do better. We need to do better.

If rejection diminishes your mood and energy, your chance of success during your next prospect or donor contact will likewise be diminished. Another rejection would further erode your spirit and begin a downward spiral as your confidence continues to erode.

If we can short-circuit the negative effect of rejection, we’ll have a more positive attitude and be able to raise more money. We’ll have more energy and more confidence. So, what can we do to develop a healthy mindset toward rejection?

Years ago, I learned a terrific technique from sales expert Tom Hopkins. Before I share Hopkins’ approach, I want to lay out five assumptions:

 

  1. I assume you will always prepare before contacting a prospect or donor so you can do the best possible job.
  2. I assume that your intention with every contact will be to get a “yes.”
  3. I assume you know that you will not get a “yes” all of the time.
  4. I assume you recognize that, sometimes, a prospect or donor will say “no” for reasons that have nothing to do with you or your organization.
  5. I assume you can recognize what prospects or donors really mean when they say “no.” To make sure you really understand what “no” means and how to deal with each different meaning, checkout the guest post from fundraising consultant and author Bernard Ross, “Overcoming the 9 Fundraising NOs.”

With those assumptions in mind, let’s look at what you can do to take the sting out of rejection. Simply put, you need to decide in advance how to react when you don’t get a “yes.” In other words, how will you react when you don’t get the appointment, don’t close the donation, don’t secure a new volunteer, etc.?

Here is what Hopkins suggests for sales professionals that we can borrow:

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February 24, 2012

Overcoming the 9 Fundraising NOs

I’m a huge, long-time fan of Bernard Ross, author and Director of The Management Centre. I first met him years ago when we were both speaking at the Institute of Fundraising Conference in the United Kingdom. His presentation was thoroughly entertaining and packed with valuable insights from his years as a nonprofit consultant with some of the world’s largest and most prestigious organizations. Later that evening, we shared adult beverages in the hotel bar, swapped stories, and discovered a great deal of common ground.

Since first meeting Bernard, I try to attend whenever he speaks at an Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference or when he presents a webinar. I’m also a big fan of his books, Breakthrough Thinking for Nonprofit Organizations: Creative Strategies for Extraordinary Results and The Influential Fundraiser: Using the Psychology of Persuasion to Achieve Outstanding Results.

I’m honored that Bernard has agreed to share some fresh insights here about how fundraisers can better handle rejection:

 

People won’t always agree with your fundraising proposition. The implication is that even when you use the most targeted approaches the reality is you are still likely to get a “No” more often than a “Yes.”

The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful fundraiser is that they don’t necessarily accept the first “No” as a definitive answer. The successful fundraiser responds by being curious about what exactly the donor means.

There’s Darwinian logic to this, at least in fundraising. Put simply, if you only asked people who you knew would definitely say “Yes,” or if you only asked for the size of gift that you were sure they would definitely give, you’d:

  • be working off a very, very small sample of potential donors,
  • probably tend to “under-ask” by framing your proposition very low.

And, the negative payoff is you’d possibly:

  • be letting down your cause and the people you’re there to help.

So, to be successful as a fundraiser you need to learn to deal with the possibility of rejection. And, in particular, you need to deal with initial rejection and be able to analyze it more closely. That first “No” may not be as bleak as it appears.

To help you manage and interpret the possible rejections you might experience, we’ve created a “No” typology. In our experience, there are essentially nine fundraising “No”s that prospects use. With the first eight of these, if you follow up with a better question you may well get a better result. Only one of these responses – the last one – genuinely means “No, go away.” And if you hear this “No,” you should leave.

The 9 Fundraising “No”s are:

  1. No, not for this.
  2. No, not you.
  3. No, not me.
  4. No, not unless.
  5. No, not in this way.
  6. No, not now.
  7. No, too much.
  8. No, too little.
  9. No, go away.

Each of these “No”s has an underlying reason or explanation that a skilled influencer will seek to uncover. And, that’s why dealing with “No” properly requires that you ask a different or better question rather than simply giving up.

So, how do you get from a “No” to a “Yes”?

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