Everyone has a different style of making a solicitation. Some people like to script out every word that could possibly be spoken and others like it to feel natural and it can feel like they are unprepared. Regardless of how comprehensive your preparation, taking time to schedule your solicitations can be very helpful. Most often when going on a solicitation your colleague is a friend of the individual you are asking for a gift. If your volunteers are anything like mine they are involved in a million different things all the time whether it is running their business or serving on other boards or just trying to find time with their families. When you script every single word it requires a level of preparation that very few people are willing to put in.
Flow during a solicitation is crucial. The team should know what’s coming next and where are they in reference to the ask for support. A schedule is much easier to memorize than a script. Scheduling is also a great tool that can be used to bring your message together and make sure that you are covering everything that you need to. Asking for a gift does not involve a bunch of random chit chat and then an ask for money. It is easy to get carried away talking about something else and forget to ask at all. People love stories and many can spend their entire time only telling stories. Some people really like to help you understand why their issue is so important to this region or this time. I have found that it is often really easy to lose track of time at the very beginning of a meeting when you are breaking the ice and getting comfortable.
If you run out of time, by the time you get to make the ask it becomes rushed and you miss out on the opportunity to talk with a donor about their concerns and answer their specific questions. The most critical part of your conversation is often how you respond after you ask for money. Do you give them time to respond? Do you have enough time to really understand and respond to their questions?