I love questions, because that helps you get to know your major gift donors well before you ask them for a gift!
Here’s a guest post from my buddy Andrea Kihlstedt:
Your success depends less on how well you ask for gifts and more on whether you’ve built strong relationships with your major gift donors.
Many people think that the best way to get to know donors is to make an appointment with them to tell them about their project.
Instead, flip the model — before telling them about your project, you ask them about themselves.
For a successful campaign, you will have to engage your major gift donors, connecting with them more fully than ever.
And while you may think that the best way to do that is by telling your donors about your project, really, the best way to do that is to ask them questions about themselves and listen to their answers.
To get you started, I’ve selected a list of twenty-two great questions that you can use to get your donors talking about the things that interest and motivate them.
Use these questions to get to know your donors before you start telling them about your project.
This list is complied from questions suggested by Gail and by our colleagues Jerry Panas and Rory Green.
Donors love to talk about themselves. They’d love to tell you about their career, their kids, where they’ve lived, and how they got to where they are.
It’s like saying to someone “tell me your story.” It’s such an easy way to start off with someone.
You probably know that we are big on Advice Visits. Remember, you honor your donor by asking for their input.
I like to ask them about fundraising strategy in particular: How can we make this happen? Who should be involved? Where do you think the money might come from?
These are the questions most people are afraid to bring up – but donors will actually tell you directly if you just ask! You’d be surprised what you can ask about with a smile on your face.
In fact many donors love chatting with people about their philanthropy and their passions!
Use your donor meetings to ask questions, and you’ll find that your donor visits become much more engaging and fun.
The more you focus on getting to know your donors and helping them figure out what they’d like to do through their gift, the less asking for gifts feels like begging.
Which of the 22 questions above strike you as ones you’ll definitely ask your donors and why?
Leave a comment and let us know YOUR favorite power questions to ask!
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