A Fundraiser’s Journey: Getting to Know You

A Fundraiser’s Journey Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Kelly pic

Getting to Know You

The path to strong and consistent donors is a long one but it’s a fun one.

It’s all about learning what makes your donors’ hearts beat faster for your organization. Why do they love you? Let us count the ways we can find out.

Start with a donor who has given consistently to your organization for a long period of time. It can be someone you already know but if you are feeling brave, talk with someone who should be giving to your organization but hasn’t done so yet. Go for it!

  1. Ask for a meeting. It can be lunch, a tour of your facility or program, coffee, whatever. Best location is one where you can have a good conversation. Even 20 minutes in his or her office will work, if that’s all the time you’re given.
  2. Make the best use of that time: Do not do a Show Up and Throw Up, as a colleague of mine so eloquently put it. This means you do NOT talk, you listen.
  3. Spend only five to seven minutes talking about why you are meeting. This can be an update on the organization or a thank-you for all the support.
  4. Ask some questions. Suggestions: Tell me how you got interested in our organization. What excites you about our organization? What do you like about where it is going? If you could give a million dollars to our organization, what would you want that money to do? The goal is to learn more about him/her in order to make a later good ask.
  5. Repeat the information back to the donor, engage in conversation.
  6. Send a note right after the meeting, thanking the donor for his/her time. Personalize the note: If the donor is recovering from a fall or fever, send best wishes for a speedy recovery. If the donor is a cat-lover, use the pet’s name.
  7. If the donor provided feedback on something that can be improved in the organization, follow up and check in with the donor about it.
  8. Keep notes on your meeting and follow-ups. This can be a simple Excel document. Don’t stress over this, just write it down.

Here is a link to a good getting-to-know-all-about-you book, entitled Asking, which is available at the Allen County Public Library: http://www.jeroldpanas.com/pages/book_asking.htm

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

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