Treat Your First Meeting Like a First Date!
I grew up in West Virginia at a different time and place — when boys properly asked girls out on dates and developed personal relationships with them. Girls did not call boys and ask them out. Boys paid for dates and never heard of the term "dutch." There were no match.com or social-media sites to pick and choose dating options. There were no opportunities to pay a company $1,000 for a dream date. In the end, the success and failure of a relationship depended on chemistry and other factors between two people.
In fact, the only time I can ever remember a mother promoting me to her daughter in advance of the big date went south quickly, with my date arguing with her mom about going out with me. I had no chance for success. I found out later she was already dating someone without her mother knowing it!
In many ways, the concept of dating can be applied to fundraising and interpersonal relationships between people. When you think about it, fundraising is all about relationships. The essence of generating positive relationships can be equated to the dating ritual. (Granted, many of us might not have practiced the concept for a number of years.)
I was sitting across from a bank manager, who I had not met before, the other day, and I privately experienced a rush emotions as I wondered what I should say to start the ball rolling. It is hoped that you have a game plan and expectations for your first visit. The truth is you have only a few precious seconds to make a first impression. The aspect of chemistry is an important element to the mix. If there is no chemistry, success will be harder to attain. You will have some advantage if you received the appointment through a personal "door opening" connection with person you are meeting.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.