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Friday, November 17, 2017

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How to Get Past a Fuzzy Answer
Jacqueline Beretta

September, 2006

Uh oh! I'm losing them! I can see it in their eyes – they are fading into the glazed eyes – la-la land syndrome - What in the world shall I do?

Having just given your best presentation, you smile and stay quiet for one moment looking for some sort of validation. Instead of the empathetic, connected response you were expecting for your worthy cause, you receive a vague reply from your grant officer and a promise that the foundation might be interested, but will have to take some time to think about it, and of course, get back to you.

It's happened to all of us before. You could jump up on the desk and do a song and dance routine just to liven up the audience. Or you might use resourceful and focused rhetoric to jazz things up a bit and reconnect on an intellectual and caring plain.

What do you do now? Say, “OK, thanks and we will look forward to hearing from you soon. Bye!” Absolutely NOT!

Connect, Cultivate, and Promote

Remember that this is your project . Success doesn't ever come easy. And if you think it does, you have been reading too many fairy tales. Don't expect to win everyone over to your cause just because you ask. You must connect, cultivate, and promote your organization. You have to convince your grantors to see the importance of your efforts, and why they should become part of the support mechanism. And you have to capture their attention.

A Few Comments You Could Say

  1. “Thank you so very much for this wonderful opportunity to present our proposal to you today.”
  2. “May I provide any more information to you to help you with your decision?”
  3. “What factors are important in your review process?”
  4. “Do you have any concerns that I might have the opportunity to address?”
  5. “Is there anyone else you would like to meet with?”
  6. “What is our timeframe?”
  7. “What can we do to help you understand the importance of our request?”
  8. “How will this process progress from here?”
  9. “What exactly will happen now within your foundation (corporation) to trigger a positive response?”


Ask direct and relevant questions. Your donor will respect you for this and will see that your words speak business and exemplify organizational prowess. Do not display any emotions except enthusiasm and passion for your project. And most of all, do not take anything personal. Foundations, corporations, and individuals make business decisions every day - and an investment in your organization is an important business decision they must weigh carefully.



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