Mid-America Planned Giving Council

Helping You Make a Difference


Anne Melvin

Anne T. MelvinAnne T. Melvin, Director of Training and Education, Harvard University

Topic: Pivoting Successfully Handling Difficult Donor Conversations (handouts)

Summary of presentation: Every gift officer faces tough cultivation situations. These can bring a promising gift trajectory to a screaming halt. The successful officer has learned how to handle these tricky situations with grace (if not ease!) by pivoting and reframing the situation for the prospect. This session breaks down the secrets of effective pivoting into several easy-to-remember rules that can apply in most situations.

Attendees will engage in two tough situation role-plays, allowing officers to explore using his or her newly-learned skills in real-life situations so officers will be prepared the next time a prospect’s objections threatens to derail cultivation toward a gift.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to pivot the conversation to take it in a different direction
  • How to reframe the prospect’s issue so s/he can see it in a different light
  • The five basic strategies of pivoting

About Anne: Anne has worked as both a volunteer and a professional in the field of development for the past two decades, and specialized in gift planning for many years. Anne is a nationally recognized speaker on fundraising, and she trains non-profit development staff nationwide through her private practice, ATM Consulting.  She is a cum laude graduate of Williams College and holds a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.