In the book, McKinnon, president of Canadian direct-mail consultancy Harvey McKinnon Associates, identifies 11 core questions, ranging from “Why me?” to “Will my gift make a difference?” to “Will I have a say over how you use my gift?”
“If you remember that ‘me’ is everyone’s favorite subject, it will help train your focus where it should be: on the prospect and how his or her gift will make a difference in the world,” the author writes.
“Your goal as a fundraiser is to show donors, in practical, tangible ways, how their financial support will change and improve the life of a fellow human being, or a dog and cat, or protect an environmental treasure,” he writes. “If you don’t show this, your prospect will give to another cause where he can see a positive impact.”
McKinnon peppers his responses with dramatic, real-life stories, including how a development officer at a technical institute turned a $100,000 gift into a $1 million gift and how the chair of a YWCA sparked a first-time gift of $100,000 with a single question from her heart.
“To succeed at fundraising, it’s essential to know the questions that are on your donor’s mind,” McKinnon writes. “And the better you are at answering those questions, the more money you’re certain to raise.”
The author also promises that tapping into your own thoughts and feelings will equip you with the best responses to donors’ questions.
“The rich are no different from you or me, except they have more money and better teeth,” McKinnon writes. “Probably better holidays too. But essentially they’re the same. They constantly ask themselves questions too.”
“The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave,” Emerson & Church, Publishers, 2008; $24.95 plus $4.95 for shipping.