Tips from Experienced Solicitors


Nothing is as effective as a face-to-face solicitation, but it’s important to communicate in a way that meets the needs of donors. Telephone solicitations often work best with our busy schedules. You can also send an email, but emails can be cold and misconstrued. So be sure to make a phone call first and then follow up with an email if it’s requested by the donor.

Not every first call or first visit should end with a solicitation. You may both need more time. That’s okay. Just be sure to follow up and complete the solicitation. When we don’t complete solicitations, donors and prospects often feel unappreciated – as if their gifts don’t matter. Completing solicitations creates confidence in our donors.

The solicitation is about the DONOR in OUR community, not about YOU in YOUR community. Always keep the donor’s interests and goals in mind. Ask about his or her interests if you don’t know them already. This is especially important if you do not know the donor.

If you do not know the answer to a question, tell the donor that you will get an answer for him or her. Contact a campaign staff person so that you or a staff person can follow up with the donor.

You can ask anyone anything if you begin your request with the phrase, “Would you consider…”

Have a logical number in mind for the “ask,” either a specific dollar amount or a percentage increase.

If you are having difficulty getting a donor to increase his or her gift, ask him or her to consider increasing the gift by a multiple of $18 (chai).

Always be empathetic. Don’t close the door because you might never get it open again.

The trick to making a successful solicitation is getting it done. Procrastination is the enemy. Just do it!

People give to people, not to organizations. Keep your conversation personal, relating information about the Federation to your donor.

You can leverage your own gift by telling the donor how much you gave and why.

Sometimes it helps to remind the donor that you are only a volunteer, especially if you are making cold calls.

Be sure to let the person know how much you personally care – about Jewish life, Federation and the Jewish community worldwide.

Be yourself and use your past experience.

Know something about the person you’re soliciting and remember that different people need different approaches.

Consider asking a person about future gifts and a plan for giving: Where do you want to be in five years? What increases can you make along the way to get there?