"What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate"
“What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate”
FS Advisor: July 19, 2005
By Margaret Battistelli, editor, FundRaising Success
With apologies to Paul Newman’s character in “Cool Hand Luke,” that famous line could underscore the major deficiency that plagues many major-gifts appeals. In their AFP Fund Raising Day New York session, “Social Styles: Increasing Effective Personal Communications for Fundraising,” presenters Andrea Kihlstedt and Michael Page Miller stressed the importance of understanding the personality type of a potential major-gift donor before even attempting an ask.
To simplify the task, consultants Kihlstedt and Miller educated attendees on the various social styles that fundraisers might encounter when making an ask, as well as the best tacts to take in dealing with them.
Drivers: Determined, decisive and efficient, drivers push for concrete results. They often come off as abrupt and aloof. To reach them, give them as many details as possible, be efficient and not overly wordy, and wear your thickest skin.
Expressives: Flamboyant, enthusiastic and personable, expressives have lots of new ideas and flashes of brilliance, but they often base decisions on hunches. They love to be the star of the show. To reach them, show them that you share their enthusiasm, applaud their creativity and don’t overwhelm them with details. But be sure to work with them to outline a specific follow-through plan for any ideas, since this isn’t their strong point.
Analytics: Serious, orderly and vigilant, analytics take their time making decisions and could seem more concerned with getting things right than with getting things done. They often take in information without offering much visible feedback, so they appear stoic. To reach them, present detailed, organized information in writing whenever possible, present yourself in a professional, non-emotional way, and be sure to set specific deadlines.
Amiables: Supportive, friendly and agreeable, amiables are wonderful team builders and cheerleaders, and people love working with them. But because they want to be liked, they have a hard time making decisions and sticking with them and are loathe to make a decision that might hurt anyone’s feelings. To reach them, have meetings over coffee or lunch and appeal to them out of friendship. Stress positive outcomes and a team atmosphere, and be aware of when they might just be going along because they aren’t comfortable saying no.