Creating A Positive Mindset For Your Potential Benefactor

Advanced Fundraising Skills To Anchor Positivity To Your Capital Campaign
By Mary-Jane Hilton

Can you remember turning on your radio, hearing a song that reminded you of a past event and suddenly all the emotions that were associated with that event came flooding back? Does the smell of certain foods evoke memories of your childhood? Do you feel sad when you see a funeral procession? Or happy when you see a balloon flying in the sky? These responses are called ‘anchors’. An anchor is a stimulus that changes your state of mind either positively or negatively. It triggers an automatic response in you or in others that involves one or more of the five senses - smell, taste, sight, sound and touch. For example, if I ask you to imagine someone scraping their fingernails down a chalkboard, I can almost guarantee that you flinch as you recall the horrible sound those fingernails make as they scrape across a blackboard. You don’t even have to hear the real sound to react - you are anchored into a negative physical reaction when you are even reminded of the sound. Anchors surround us on a daily basis. Whenever we respond without thinking, an anchor is influencing us. They can include the national flag (visual), a favourite piece of music (auditory), a comfortable armchair (kinesthetic), a mouthful of chocolate (taste), or the smell of new baked bread (smell), Anchors are widely used by advertising agencies to link a good feeling to the product they are trying to sell. Think of the number of car adverts that have a beautiful glamorous woman draped over the engine. Consider the adverts that sell toilet rolls by featuring an adorable Labrador puppy romping with the product. In his book, ‘Managing With The Power Of NLP’ , top business coach David Molden describes anchoring as “a natural phenomenon of communication that we can use with intention in many contexts, as a way of creating more positive feelings for yourself and others”. Anchoring offers the fundraiser another immensely powerful tool in the solicitation process. Just imagine going into a solicitation process having created a feeling of supreme confidence and calmness and being able to anchor a ‘feel good’ feeling in the potential benefactor. However, this technique cannot be used to influence a person to do something that they are reluctant to do, as they are likely to sense this and resist. Instead it can be used to create a resourceful state of relaxation, interest and enthusiasm in the potential benefactor, which will positively influence their responses so that they become more receptive to you and your proposals. To achieve this you need to build rapport with the potential benefactor and decide what resourceful state you want to anchor. This could be as a feeling of

enthusiasm for a particular project your organisation is involved in, or interest and sympathy for your agency’s work in general, or decisiveness about giving a benefaction. To encourage the potential benefactor to access the desired state you begin by asking a number of questions. If you are seeking to anchor the feelings of enthusiasm in the potential benefactor, ask him to tell you about something you know s/he is really interested and enthusiastic about. Watch to see when that feeling begins to intensify, and then anchor the desired state with a word, a smile or gesture. When I want to anchor enthusiasm I have found the most powerful method is to simply run my finger down the length of my nose. Every time the potential benefactor demonstrates strong enthusiasm, I repeat the gesture. If I also want to anchor the feelings of sympathy as soon as it is demonstrated, I clasp my hands together, again repeating the gesture whenever the feeling of sympathy is demonstrated. Test the anchors by repeating the gesture you made at the time the person was experiencing the emotion and watch for the same external behaviours associated with the desired state. Repeat the anchor gesture when appropriate in the meeting. When I am giving details of the cause my agency is seeking funds for, I run my finger down the length of my nose to elicit the potential benefactor’s feelings of enthusiasm. When I give details of how many children or animals will benefit from the programme I clasp my hands together to evoke the feelings of sympathy. Another way that anchors can be used was described by one of the world’s top success coaches, Anthony Robbins, during one of his truly amazing courses, which I attended 10 years ago. Robbins had been trying to persuade the US Army to use his services as a coach to improve their team of marksmen but could not get anyone to make a decision to employ him. During a meeting with the decision makers, he got up from his seat at the boardroom table and walked over to the unoccupied seat at the head of the table. Normally, a General would sit there to chair a meeting. As Robbins invited the people round the table to take up his coaching offer, he placed both hands on the General’s chair. His offer was accepted because the men around the table were anchored into accepting the authority of a General. Robbins had realised that even though the General was not present, his authority was anchored to the chair. Two weeks after I finished Robbins’ course, I met with the Chairman and management team of a not-for-profit agency to persuade them that they would benefit from employing me as a fundraising consultant. The Chairman, one of the most powerful and successful businessmen in the city, was present for the first half of the meeting, but had to leave to catch a plane. I finished my presentation and sat down. At first I felt that I had persuaded them that spending money on a fundraising consultancy would be beneficial. Then the social work manager began to point out how spending the equivalent amount of money on her area would be far more beneficial to the agency and that they should continue to try raising money by themselves.

From experience, I knew that once a negative opinion is voiced about development, a decision to employ a consultant would be delayed indefinitely. With Anthony Robbins’ example in my mind, I got up from my seat and faced the managers as I outlined again how I could raise money for them. The social work manager slowly shook her head and scowled. I went over to the chair where the Chairman had been sitting and placed my hand firmly on the back of the seat and repeated my fundraising offer and sat down in his chair. The atmosphere of uncertainty changed and the group became animated and positive. Each time the social work manager made a negative comment, one of the other managers reminded her that her resources had far more chance of being upgraded as a result of professional fundraising than struggling on with the present ‘cake stall’ fundraising mentality. That afternoon I got the contract and spent three happy years assisting them to establish and run a total development programme. Another effective way of creating anchors is with the use of touch. However, it is really important to remember that there are strong cultural values involved in touching another human being. In the West there are clearly defined areas of touch. These fall into three categories: the Public Zone, the Social Zone and the Intimate Zone. ZONE: AREA OF TOUCH: ALLOWS Public Zone: Elbows to fingertips: Strangers Social Zone: Arms, shoulders, and back: Friends Intimate Zone: Neck and face: Family / Partners / Children Research indicates that sales personnel who lightly touch the back of the potential buyers hand or forearm during a sales pitch, dramatically increased their sales. About 95% of people tested had no recall of their hand being touched but commented on the comfortable feeling engendered by the sales person. I have used this time and time again and can verify that it is an invaluable tool for use in the solicitation process.

Mary-Jane Hilton has worked as a professional fundraiser for over 20 years on 3 continents and offers consultations, coaching and training in all aspects of fundraising, capital campaigns, and direct development work -- specialising in fundraising for schools, charities and professional orchestras.

Copyright 2007 Mary-Jane Hilton