Is this a good time to talk?
To be clear, asking for the prospect’s permission to speak is not a bad idea, but you should make sure that your donors want to be contacted before you call them. If you open your conversation by asking if it’s a good time to talk, the answer will often be negative, even if it’s the only time you’ll reach them during the campaign. Instead, jump straight into the conversation and be aware that the prospect will interrupt you if it’s not a good time.
Would you be interested in giving?
Not only is this a weak ask, it’s a closed-ended question from which it’s difficult to proceed after a response. If the prospect refuses, there’s no room to move ahead with a second ask. If the prospect agrees to a gift, the caller still has to secure an amount, leaving plenty of opportunity for the conversation to lose momentum. Until the donor has agreed to an exact amount and confirmed it several times, you can’t consider it a commitment.
Did you have a good experience with this organization?
Regardless of whether they’ve enjoyed working with your organization, the question invites a negative response. In the same way that restaurants tend to get more elaborate bad reviews than good ones, asking about a non-specific experience with your organization directs the mind to think about the less than positive aspects of their relationship. It’s also a closed-ended question which is rarely useful in developing the discussion.