Tips on How to Leverage Volunteering to Prospect for Clients
While it may be true that charity is its own reward, it can also be rewarding in more tangible ways that could do great things for your bottom line. Charity and volunteer events are a great way to prospect for new clients. When done correctly, you can do something for a good cause while doing something good for your business.
Educate Yourself About the Project
Go to meetings, and gather project-related literature from those meetings. As you read through the material, try to anticipate the questions that people will ask. Be prepared to answer basic questions about where the raised funds will go and what they will be used for.
Make a List of Your Best Prospects
Your friends are likely to make the best prospects. The list you end up should be a pretty decent length. If you’re the average American, you should have around 600 friends according to a New York Times report.
Have your check ready when you attend the event. Though you aren’t expected to donate as much as the industry’s biggest big wigs, you are expected to give nonetheless. Show prospects that you believe in the cause you’re asking them to believe in.
Grab a Friend
Your first few visits will be a nerve-wracking experience. Bringing an associate along can help buoy your confidence and help you not feel alone. They can also aid you when fielding difficult questions.
Remember That You’re a Professional
Square your shoulders, and be firm when addressing people. Be friendly, but let them know you’re serious. Make a strong case for supporting the cause.
Accept Your New Role Gracefully
Make a smooth transition from associate to charity volunteer. Let your friend know in no uncertain terms, that for the time being, you’re all about business. Once you’re done with your pitch and have given them the necessary literature, let them know you’ve switched back to your original role.
Make a Statement of Faith
Let your friend know that you are donating to the cause. Also let them know that you’re asking them to do the same. If you are reasonably certain that your friend’s economic bracket is the same as yours, it might be a good idea to mention the exact amount you donated and prompt them to donate the same.
Request the Right Amount of Money
Present the range of acceptable contribution levels, while pointing out opportunities for naming. Suggest a contribution amount just above what you think they’ll go for. They may opt for an amount one or two levels down, or they just might pony up the amount you suggested. There’s a chance they’ll be flattered that you believe they have the bankroll to write such a generous check.
Make Them Aware of Pledging Options
Explain that, with an initial contribution, they can opt to donate more money over time. You may also wish to mention donations made in appreciated securities, if the situation lends itself to it. Spend a short time telling them about corporate gift matching programs, too. Simplicity is key.
Get Them to Commit
This is where the rubber meets the road. The cornerstone of in-person fundraising is the ability to look at someone straight-on and say, “The community needs this project. Will you join me in lending your support?” This is tough, which is why most prefer to raise money through a mailing campaign or at events.
Formally Thank Them
This means sending a handwritten note, whether they donated to the cause or not. Make it personal, and avoid texts and emails. Those can be easily deleted and won’t be remembered.
Send an Invite
There’s always a 50 percent chance that they didn’t contribute. If not, ask the organization to invite them to another one of their events. Second time might be the charm.
Check Back In
If they’re on the fence, give them a call to see if you can sway them. Be firm but polite, and encourage them to give you a decision. Try something like, “I’m calling to conclude or business about Acme Charity. Are you still interested in contributing.”
If they have made a contribution, and you’ve already sent them a thank you note, make sure that they get an invite the charity’s next recognition event. You should go to the event to. Drive them yourself if you need to. Once there, personally see to it that they get a handshake and a thank you from everyone in the senior administration.
Expect to Reciprocate
If your prospect makes a donation, expect to return the favor. They will come to you asking for something similar. When you are approached, be generous and supporting, giving as much as you comfortably can.
Master this process, and soon you may find yourself among the ranks of powerful people from other organizations and boards.
Hopefully, this article got you thinking about optimizing the prospecting in your tax and accounting business. If you’re not using online tax filing, you should. Typically, if you efile 1099 and W-2 forms for clients, you’ll see results faster than mailing paper documents.
If you’re doing tax prep, this tax season need to be focused on time management. Like most tax pros, your customers may have employees and sub-contractors in different places.
If you’re burning time delivering paper tax docs, here’s a tip for you. I use eFile4Biz.com to file 1099 forms online, and focus on generating clients. They’re an industry leader, and their system collaborates with the big accounting software names as well. The video below will tell if they’re smart fit for you.
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