So think about these three skills that will help you secure big gifts.
Involve the Donor: Generally people soliciting big gifts feel they have to have all the answers. Couldn't be further from the case. If you involve your donor in thinking about how to address key issues you are much more likely to secure a gift. But you need to have knowledge of options to suggest. Provide sufficient information to make it clear you have the expertise to address possible solutions. But an involved donor, who knows your work, believes in you, and trusts you can provide valuable ideas, too. And that involvement is the key to unlocking big gifts.
Collaboration Is Not The Same As Consensus: Collaboration implies more than one person working together on a decision. But that is not the same as building consensus, in which multiple people agree on a decision. Are your donors saying yes because they want to feel part of your work, be your collaborators? Or are they working with you to build consensus on the topic? Don't get side tracked with too many people - too big a collaboration - to be able to build a true consensus with your key donor.
Create Ownership: Do you allow your donor to take credit for an idea or a solution? The psychological impact of ownership is a powerful tool. Work with your donors to explore options and try to help them find the best one. The goal is for them to come up with the idea you also think is best. But don't mention that you suggested it. Give them ownership of it by simply saying "I agree."
Think of these as strategies to guide your efforts. And a few tactics are included to add to your success.
The bottom line: big gifts come from donors who feel a part of what you are doing and are empowered to help you get there. Don't hog the limelight.