15 Questions to Go Deeper with Your Donor
To be a great major gifts officer, you must be curious about your donors.
Why? Because your job is to understand their passions and interests and why those things matter to them. This will help you discover, out of all your projects and programs, what will inspire your donors to give a significant gift.
I want to get very practical with you today. Many major gift officers want to know what questions they should ask when meeting with a donor.
So here are some questions for you that will help unlock your donor’s passions and interests. And as you come to know one another better, you’ll begin to develop trust with your major donors.
- You’ve been giving [X] amount over the last [Y] years. This has been very generous. What is it that we’re specifically doing that you get excited about?
- You’ve been giving to this particular program of ours for many years. Why are you so passionate about it?
- You give to many charities. Why is ours so important to you?
- When you give to our organization, what is your hope and expectation of that gift?
- At what point in your life did your personal philanthropy become important to you? And what do you want to accomplish with it? Has it changed over the years?
- What is your preferred way to receive communications from me? Email, phone calls, texts, in-person meetings?
- How would you like to receive updates on the impact your giving is having through our organization?
- You’ve been interested in this mission for many years and have given generously toward that. Besides your giving, would you like to be involved in other ways?
- Over the years, how have you felt about the relationship with our organization? Is there anything you would change? What could we improve upon?
- Where do you find the most joy in your life?
- Why do you give of your personal wealth?
- When did you first hear about our organization, and what prompted you to make that first gift?
- You’ve been giving very generously for quite a long time. What would get you so excited that you would want to make a significant investment in our organization?
- How do you make decisions about your giving? Who do you seek counsel with? What is your process in making a decision to give?
- Tell me about the best experience you had giving a gift. What made it so good for you?
There you go. Fifteen questions you can use for your next donor visit. Any one of these questions will lead you and the donor to go deeper.
Every donor has a story. To get to that story, you need to be curious and show that you honestly want to know your donor. A genuine curiosity to learn more about their story will allow the donor to start building trust with you.
Have a great donor meeting!
Jeff Schreifels is the principal owner of Veritus Group — an agency that partners with nonprofits to create, build and manage mid-level fundraising, major gifts and planned giving programs. In his 32-plus year career, Jeff has worked with hundreds of nonprofits, helping to raise more than $400 million in revenue.