Influencing a Decision Maker
In this month’s Harvard Business Review, Susan J. Ashford and James Detert dissect the steps necessary to successfully convince your boss to buy in on your plan or strategy. While the list is specific to the boss/employee relationship, the techniques and methodology described can easily be applied to any number of influencing situations – whether it is talking to a board member, building a relationship with a donor, or pitching a new idea to a client, these “issue selling” priorities are crucial for improving impact.
Here are a few highlights:
Tailor Your Pitch
While seemingly a simple and almost obvious piece, the personalization of outreach efforts is such an essential starting point. A reason it is ignored? It can be incredibly time consuming. But by investing your time to tailor your pitch, you show your recipient how valuable you think they are – how highly you consider their time and efforts. And in personalization, you can highlight the needs and wants of your specific target, rather than generalizing and ineffectively communicating.
Frame the Issue
How do your issues, initiative, or project fit into the goals or objectives of who you are pitching? What are their priorities? It is easy to talk about yourself, or your organization, and get lost in your own accomplishments and needs. But how do you fit into the responsibilities and aspirations of your audience? By framing your issue or project from this perspective, you will be much more likely to communicate your message.
Also known as – getting a champion on the inside. If the major decision maker, be it a foundation, a donor, or a board member, is especially influenced by a specific person or department, use that to your advantage. Build a relationship with others both within and outside of your organization and create a support network of multiple skill sets and perspectives. By creating this clamor for support, it is much easier to show the importance of your initiative or issue.
Another popular technique to help guide decisions? Curating content that supports your cause from websites across the internet. Here’s a few to start your next pitch:
- Shana Masterson at npEngage shares ideas on what you should start and stop doing with your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns in 2015.
- Are you looking for more people to follow on Twitter? Lauren Smith from Litmus put together a list of top email marketing and design thought leaders to follow.
- Jeanne Allen of NPQ highlights a unique way that smartphone giving is being utilized and how it may reduce “chuggers”.
- If you’re looking for something to listen to while trekking to your 9-5 job, check out Allison Fine’s podcast discussing, how to make nonprofit work better than just a 9-5 job.
- Greg Baldwin, President of VolunteerMatch,