Often non-profit leaders get caught up in anxiously telling donors “everything.” They blurt out stats about programs and stories. They hasten to show impact and community need. As non-profit staff and volunteers, they have great pride in the mission so it’s easy for them to go on and on about what’s happening with the organization.

    The staff or volunteer walks away proud and certain that they’ve educated the donor.

    The problem is that in educating, they’ve missed a great opportunity. They haven’t learned anything.

    They haven’t asked questions. They haven’t invited the donor to an event or program that interests them. Without that two-way dialogue, it will be very unlikely that the donor will engage more fully in our organization.

    Have you ever had a donor visit like that?

    What if you were able to break down your mission into five key impact areas? Then walk through these impact areas with your donor, allowing them to comment and ask questions.

    As the donor begins express their interests, the door is open to inviting them to learn more, perhaps through an in person visit to one of your program sites. Through their questions, you will learn how to better follow up with them in the future. You have the information you need to be an effective interest-raiser, not just a fund-raiser.

    Get great at listening! Use donor visits to learn about the donor. That information will help you point out where their interests and values align with your organization’s mission.

    Not only will you be more effective, you’ll also find that a conversation is more enjoyable than a one-sided presentation, which will make donor visits something you can look forward to!

    Posted by Peggy Vinson on Jan. 17, 2019
    Peggy Vinson

    Written by Peggy Vinson

    Since joining DBD in 2005, Peggy has coached executive staff and volunteers on increasing the effectiveness of their fundraising efforts. Peggy’s prescriptive approach focuses on the organization’s strengths and challenges. She meets her clients where they are, helping all to grow their fundraising skills. By developing strategic, measurable plans and skill sets, Peggy helps organizations not only meet their goals this year, but increase their capacity for the future.

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