This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: how do you learn your supporters’ stories?
I have the privilege of speaking to lots of groups about the art of asking for money. I work hard to connect to each group and bring my best energy to the room.
As part of my trainings, I like to interview a donor or board member. My favorite question to ask is “Tell me your story from birth to today in 5 minutes.” This question is wonderful and even who know these donors well always learn something. I then like to ask about the other causes they support and why.
After the short interview is done, I ask the room if they know more about the interviewee than they knew 15 minutes earlier. They always readily agree. I then say it’s too bad a guy from Chicago had to fly in to help them get closer to the group. This always engenders a bit of nervous laughter.
Relationships matter. But they don’t happen by accident.
So here’s your summer challenge: take time to visit with your board and another ten of your top donors or donor prospects. Bring them a mid-year update and then ask to hear their story. I promise you will learn something new, and you will have a deeper understanding of the impact they want to have in the world.
Remember people love to talk about themselves. So celebrate their story! Plus, remember the adage: ask for money and get advice…ask for advice and get money!