What's In It For Them

on in Fundraising

What should I tell him?

An executive director new to fundraising posed that question to Cause Effective last week, about a donor stewardship meeting fast coming up.

But that’s the wrong question.

Cause it’s not show and tell – or at least not in that direction.

What might she tell me?

That’s what this meeting is about.

How much can you learn from a face-to-face encounter that will help you, as a nonprofit leader, to understand what the donor gets from funding your group?

Because it’s the outward direction – what he receives; that determines the inward part of the equation – what he gives.

 While we know what he gives (or, at least, what she gave the last time), we don’t know the why – really. A sit-down is a unique opportunity to understand what floats that donor’s boat.

You watch for the body language. When the donor sits forward in her chair, or lifts his eyebrow ever so imperceptibly. That’s a sign you’ve penetrated the self-protective armor of boredom and the “show me” stance – as in “show me something new.”

b2ap3_thumbnail_face-to-face-meeting.pngYou’re listening for the clues the donor is leaving. About his grandfather, about her hobbies, about what they majored in in college (or didn’t get a chance to study because they had to get a job).

When you find that out, when you get to know the donor as a person, then when you’re ready to do the pitch, you’ll get it right.

You’ll be selling what they want to be buying. What matters, to them.

A donor meeting’s real purpose? Not to wow them (although that goes with the territory).

But to find OUT what wows them. To find out who they are and – why you?

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