5 Questions To Maximize Your Time With Donors

5 Questions to Maximize Your Time with Donors

What’s your favorite question to ask when meeting with donors? Here are my five favorites which always lead to enlightening conversations …

  • What do you know about us?

  • What first led you to become involved with our organization?

  • What excites you about our current programming?

  • What could we be doing better?

  • How did you come to be so generous?

Hate Networking? Try These Fun, Provoking Questions

Hate Networking? Try These Fun, Provoking Questions

Networking events…most fundraisers either love them or hate them.

We’ve all heard the basic tips, like don’t try to break into a big group and to seek out the loners off to the side. But then, what do we ask about? We ask about work! (It’s what everybody just finished doing, after all). But, even if you love your job, you probably don’t want to talk about work at this point in the day.

So what should you talk about? In a bit, I’ll share two great networking questions that I use a lot, and will point your conversations in the right direction.

But first, let’s take a step back. What’s our goal at these events? It’s not to get donations. It’s not to talk about business. Our goal, really, is to build connections with people. To find common ground and start a new relationships that we can deepen later. Maybe it’ll lead to donations or other connections down the line, but that’s not our primary goal at the event.

So if it (work) is not our primary goal, why are we talking about it?! Instead, let’s talk about HUMAN things – interests or hobbies that allow us to build common ground. Our favorite sports teams. Our kids and families. The good stuff!

To start these kinds of conversations, my favorite question is: “What do you like to do when you’re not at work or events like this?” Bingo – instantly they start talking about their hobbies or their family or something important to them. Then you can find common ground and have a conversation about that.

My second favorite question, if it’s somebody a little more fun or we just have some good initial conversation, is “What are you nerding out to these days?” The word “nerd” itself kind of creates a chuckle, and fun. And then they just get into what they’re interested in.

So those are my questions. Use those, or come up with your own. There’s lots of great lists of other networking questions online, but the key is not not talk about work at networking events. Talk about interests. Talk about stuff that’s fun. You’ll be memorable and you’ll build stronger connections.

How to Get Your Donors to Say “YES” to Donor Meetings

How to Get Your Donors to Say “YES” to Donor Meetings

We need to meet with donors. Face to face is the most effective form of fundraising. We know that, but sometimes donors are a little hesitant. If we haven’t formed a relationship already, it’s hard to get in the door that first time.

So what are some things you can do to help with that? How can you make that a little easier? The first thing, and my biggest recommendation, is to alleviate fears. You need to alleviate fears. So what are they afraid of? Well, first and foremost, I think they’re afraid of time, not money, time. Time is precious. They’re just afraid you’re going to take up their whole day.

So I will say things like, “Do you have 20 minutes for a quick update?” or “Can I get on your calendar for a half hour?” or “Can we grab a quick cup of coffee to go?.” These phrases all alleviate that first fear by showing them that I will be respectful of their time.

Their next biggest fear is money. They’re afraid you’re going to come in, right after they just gave $500, and now you’re going to ask them for $5,000.

Well, chances are you’re not even going to ask them for anything. You just want to meet them, hear their story, and figure out what they’re passionate about — especially on a first time visit. So say that! Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not going to ask you for anything. I just want to get to know you.” or “I want to meet you and hear your story.” or “I’d love to hear why you’re so passionate about helping kids, etc.”

One other thing you can do to help donors say yes to a donor visit is to ask for advice. Simply say, “I’d love to meet with you because we’re taking a closer look at how we fundraise, and we need some feedback from loyal supporters like you. Could you spare 20 minutes of your time to have a quick cup of coffee with me?.” The old fundraising adage is certainly true: if you ask for money, you’ll get advice … if you ask for advice, you’ll get money.