publication date: Apr 30, 2012
author/source: Lisa MacDonald
has five "winning" words or phrases that have helped to improve
the quality of the conversations she has with donors. She shared them during a
presentation at the Association of Fundraising
in Vancouver. Her winning words are -
Continue the conversation
If you could envision
We value your feedback
To the extent that you feel comfortable
But, as Fredricks told the group, each fundraiser
has to find the right
themselves and their donors. Too often fundraisers
use the same formula to seek a gift, whether they are asking for $10,000 or
$50,000, instead of tailoring each interaction with a potential donor to the
person's interests and values. She recommends a 5-step process to help
exactly what you want
Consider each donor relationship as a
mini-campaign. What is it that you are asking for, when do you want it, and why
is it an appropriate gift for that donor to give to your organization?
It's important, says Fredricks to look
for patterns in the way your donor communicates. What medium does the person use to interact
with your organization and in what frequency?
Timing is important, as is the tone and formality of the conversation.
Have a conversation, not a
confrontation. Establishing good rapport may require you to practice in front
of a mirror. Consider your body language,
not just verbal communication, and remember to ask questions: "I believe we
agree on the following; correct me if I'm wrong."
After meeting with a donor, write down
what you think
you heard. If
necessary, clarify a negative result. How upset do they look? Can you get the
donor to share more information about their response? Ask more open-ended
questions instead of making assumptions.
Perhaps the conversation needs to be expanded to include more
decision-makers or perhaps the donors response indicates a problem with the
timing of the ask.
Plan the next move
Do you have a "tickler" system? Track your
conversations by date and record donor decisions using detailed notes. It may not be rocket science but it is
a process. Conversations with donors are too
important to use a standard template.
Fredricks offers one final tip for fundraisers to know they are doing
the right thing: you should be a little
nervous every time. Otherwise, it's a sign you are coasting.
assistant editor of Hilborn's
flagship newsletters, Canadian
Fundraising & Philanthropy and Hilborn
eNEWS. A degree in journalism and communications from Carleton University and more than 12 years of experience as a
nonprofit communications professional inform her passion for and understanding
of issues in this sector. Lisa welcomes your ideas and comments about this