Today I was lucky enough to attend a great session at the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable. The thing I love about CPGR is that the sessions are always so valuable whether or not you’re in planned giving. Today was no exception and I want to share what I learned with you.
The session was called Asking Great Questions in Donor Development and Stewardship led by David Morrison, a Financial Advisor and Partner with Prosperion Financial.
You’d actually never know this session was even about fundraising because we talked the entire time about asking questions. Not necessarily questions about giving, but door-opening, inspiring, dig-deep questions that can help to build a stronger bond with anyone – including your donors and prospects.
You know, I’ve always known that it was better to listen than to talk at a donor. I’ve always thought it was just more polite to ask people about themselves. But I never really thought of questions as a way to frame personal solicitation.
But of course it is! Fundraising is all about building trust and connection. What better way to build authentic, trusting, mutually beneficial relationships with donors than to really get to know them?
Maybe you are already naturally asking questions as a part of your major gift solicitations. Maybe you’re still working on your in-person cultivation or solicitation style. Either way, you might consider some of the great questions that I jotted down from this session today.
There were standard get-to-know-you questions like:
There were more thought-provoking, deeply personal questions like:
There were questions that are geared more towards giving:
And here are a few of my own that I’ve used over the years to learn about the donor’s interest in the cause:
Give some of these a try and see what works for you. At a minimum you’ll probably get a fantastic conversation going!
Better yet – create your own set of questions that work for you. The best connections are built on a foundation of authenticity and true curiosity about the person in front of you.
p.s. Please share questions you use to build connection with your donors. We’d love to hear them!