3 Ways to Find Out What Your Major Donor Thinks About Your Cause
Do you wonder where you stand with your favorite major donors? Are you on their short list? Is your cause sinking or rising in their estimation?
One of the most important things a fundraiser ever does is check in with major donors. You not only want to bring them up to date, but you also want to listen, listen and listen some more to them.
And if you do all the talking, you’ll never find out what they think about your organization.
If you don’t know how they perceive you, your organization and your cause, then you can never, ever plan a solicitation that will be successful.
Here are three of my favorite questions to ask to find out what’s on my donor’s mind:
1. What are your impressions of …
My friends, I’ve raised millions of dollars with this question. What I love about it is that it’s so very open-ended.
It’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates — you never know what you're gonna get.
What happens when you ask a bland, neutral question like this to a donor?
You often get a brain dump. And you get the donor's issues or objections — the same things that would impede a big gift. Most valuable information!
2. Can you tell me more about your philanthropy? I'd love to hear …
All donors — especially major donors — have a vision for what they want to accomplish with their money.
They would probably love to share it with you. But you’ve never asked.
If you can understand your donor’s philanthropic vision, then you can see how to fit your own project or cause into it. You can frame your solicitation approach to echo her personal values and what she thinks is most important.
I can’t think of a more interesting conversation!
3. What do you think about …
Again, you are asking your donor for specific feedback. What does she think about this new project or expansion you are contemplating? What does he think about the issue your organization is trying to address?
Such very important topics to discuss!
But if you are visiting your major donor and you are doing all the talking, you’ll miss all this valuable information.
So get your donor to talk and then to talk some more. Ask probing questions to find out his point of view and where his heart is.
Then you’ll be able to plan an amazingly successful gift request that will make both you and your donor happy.