The Fundraiser’s Kiss of Death: Talking Too Much
What's the kiss of death for every fundraiser? What's the best way to turn your donor off? And what can you do to make sure your donor never, ever wants to see you again?
What can this awful experience be?
It's when you are guilty of being boring.
OK, step aside for a minute, and put yourself in your donor's shoes. Remember your own experiences when you have been trapped with boring people?
What were they like?
Can you remember this? How long has it been since you were stuck, stuck, stuck in a meeting with someone you could not escape? Were you longing for a way out? Were you desperate to get away?
Stuck in the purgatory of a hopelessly boring meeting ... ugh!
Sooo, do you want your donor to feel like that when you are visiting her?
Guess not, if you want to forge a happy relationship with her! Here's the fundamental question:
What's the best way to be boring? It's when you talk too much.
If you talk too much, you're guaranteed to make your donor's eyes glaze over.
You're guaranteed to bore her to tears. You're probably even guaranteed to make her wish she'd never agree to meet with you!
The last thing you want is for her to wish you'd just get up and leave.
Warning: Talk too much ... at your own risk!
Too many nonprofit leaders—CEO's, development directors and board volunteers alike—are guilty of the "talking problem." Everyone thinks they need a presentation that can "sell" your donor on the cause.
Everybody thinks they need a pitch.
You don't need a pitch. You need to listen to your donor instead.
As major gift fundraisers, we pay very close attention to what is on our donor's mind, so that we can find out where she stands. If we want to develop her interest, then we have to know where her hot buttons are.
If we want a warm relationship, then we need to know what is important to her, what her values are and why she is so interested in our cause.
If we have this information, we can probably engage her deeply, get her involved, create a happy long term relationship, and develop some wonderfully generous gifts.
If you are doing more than 50 percent of the talking, then you're dead.
In fact, I personally prefer to do only about 25 percent of the talking. I'm so well trained as a fundraiser that I get a bit nervous if I find that I'm talking too much to a donor.
I'm much more comfortable when she is holding forth.
Then I can just relax, watch, gauge and listen.
Bottom line: Make this your fundraising motto: "Listen your way to the gift."
The donor will show you the way. But only if you can control yourself. Only if you can hold back.