Determining your healthcare development strategy can be complex and challenging, and it’s therefore vital to establish a process in order to improve the quality and efficiency of your interactions with a prospect. Every week, we’ll cover a new phase in our program to becoming a top producer in healthcare philanthropy.
Our key steps refer to the process development officers go through when interacting with each prospect. These steps are intended to be used as a guide to improve the quality and efficiency of every interaction with a prospect or donor. While some may move more quickly or slowly than others, all prospects go through each of the steps in the process. By being prepared and utilizing these steps, development officers can effectively reduce any tension between the officer and the prospect, sharpen communication skills, and generate a sense of professionalism and confidence. In the following blog series, Tips to Becoming a Top Producer in Healthcare Philanthropy, we will touch briefly on each of the key stages in the Gobel Group program, including pre-visit checklists and suggestions for talking points during each interaction, in order to assist development officers in aligning their prospects to the next stage, every time.
#4: Qualifying Your Prospect
Once you’ve researched and identified a prospect, reached out to them with a preliminary introduction, and set an appointment to meet with them, it’s time to make your first qualification visit. While it can be very difficult to get even this far with a potential donor, the real work begins during the next key step: qualifying your prospect. Your goal during this step is to establish your credibility and trustworthiness, to determine the prospect’s interest or capacity, and possibly to ask for an annual gift.
It’s important to first nail down details concerning the visit itself (see below for checklist). After you’ve properly conducted prefatory “Who, What, When, Where” research in preparation for the visit, you’re ready to meet with your prospect. When you arrive, your prospect will be wondering who you are, what your role is, and why you’ve come to visit with them. It’s important to first build rapport with your prospect – perhaps by briefly commenting on something interesting you see at the meeting place – before getting down to brass tacks and explaining your role and reasons for the visit.
Once you’ve properly introduced yourself and established your credibility, it’s time to get to know your prospect a little better. Keep in mind when structuring your questions that your goal here is to understand your prospect’s experience with the target medical institution (such as the level of care they received or the reasons they selected that particular facility), as well as your prospect’s background (such as their career or their interests outside of work). This is helpful for determining your prospect’s level of interest and capacity to make a gift.
The final step during qualification is either to set up a second visit or to ask for an annual gift. If you have ensured in the previous stage that your prospect has both the interest and the capacity, suggest a second visit to discuss further details; if your prospect denies a second visit, ask them if they would like to make a gift to express their gratitude. If they agree, warmly thank them and process the gift; if they decline, thank them for their time, conclude the visit, and remove them from your prospect list.
Qualifying a prospect is certainly a complicated step, but it’s a great opportunity to uncover a possible donor’s passions and to determine whether or not they align with the philanthropic interests of the medical facility in question.
Want to know more about becoming a top producer in healthcare philanthropy? Click here to read about the next stage, Cultivating to Identify Area of Interest, or click here to check out the previous tip, Setting the Appointment.