Throughout my years in sales and fundraising, I have witnessed people hang their hats on one big win. Often, this big is with a person or an organization that they have researched well, but never met. A big win that will happen in the near future, but they only have their first meeting scheduled. Perhaps they have already had that first meeting.
Here is some insight, if you have not been engaging a key decision maker for at least 6 months (preferably a year) prior to any presentation, then that big win will rarely happen over a few weeks. If it does, it is because you are a commodity. The cheapest. Could be the lowest price, could be the highest impact with the lowest expense. True big wins happen because of a relationship, the value you present in yourself and in the organization.
In the focus to achieve a big win, people often ignore the value of everyday “wins”. Those, who are seeking a relationship with you as much as you seek the relationship with your targeted person or organization. In fundraising, it is the donors who have sent you a $100, $250, $500 donation with little contact. They hold potential, if only they understood more about your cause, could they be interested in giving more?
Companies with needs for big-ticket purchases, rely on relationships, other people and companies they trust and have proven themselves. Philanthropy is no different. Major funders, whether individuals, organizations, or foundations give based on knowledge and relationships. Relationships are a two-way street. Just because you seek a relationship, does not mean the other party is mutually interested. In philanthropy, it could be because your organization does not match the funders giving focus. A donor may have decided on the organization they will support this year.
Whatever the reason, the first “no” is an invitation for more knowledge about you and the organization. The invitation is to start a conversation and engage in a relationship. Even with the best follow-up, some will remain uninterested in a relationship with you or the organization.
While you begin to grow your relationship with that “Big Win”, recognize that there is many interested in growing their relationship with you and your organization. A few of those relationships may exceed that one “Big Win” and require less effort. The bottom line is that “Some will, some won’t, so move on.”