Talking about Yourself…Again?

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 | 0 comments

What if I was invisible and sitting on the sidelines during your donor meetings? What would I see and hear?

It’s quite possible that I might see recurring themes and topics about your organization’s strengths, and I might hear you and your colleague(s) talking about yourselves and your organization. What I probably wouldn’t hear is you talking about the donor.

Or are you?

One of the top reasons fundraising efforts stall is a lack of donor interest. The donor donates, but then all too often becomes disconnected (and whose fault is that? clue #1 – they are not to blame).

All too often fundraising conversations are not about the donor and how the donor can make a difference, or has made a difference, or how their values align with a particular program’s goals; the communication initiated from your side of the conversation is often all about the organization’s achievements and qualities. Yes,  donors need to know this stuff, but if that’s all you’re telling your donors, you’re probably losing them right after “hello”.

You lost me at hello.

When speaking with a donor, does your conversation immediately move into what you are doing and how great your organization is? Donors need to be informed, yes. But they also need to be inspired and motivated. They need to feel that their thoughts and experiences will provide value to your “effective, organized, systematic, amazing” organization.

“The acronym FORM has been around for a decade or more. This mnemonic device reminds us that we can talk with anyone, in any place, about at least four things: family, occupation, recreation, and money.” And then there’s also MORF, which is designed to communicate your organization to the donor. Used together, and naturally, this combination of conversation points is an effective method for increasing your knowledge of the donor, while also increasing his knowledge of you – without talking too much or too directly about you and your organization. This blog post by DC Dreger adds more detail about how FORM/MORF can be used with your donor contacts. I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with this approach.

Do you know your donor?

A donor wants you to ask about them. They want to know that you recognize that there is more to them than their bank account. They want to know that your organization’s programs fit into their personal goals, and aligns with their personal vision and their personal values.

Donors often have very personal motivations for offering support. They are much more than a piece of paper with a dollar sign on it. They want and deserve respect for “why” they are giving not  just “what” they are giving.

Boring Date Syndrome

“Many nonprofit organizations we meet suffer from Boring Date Syndrome. You know the type. You meet them for a first date and they talk relentlessly about themselves the entire time, never showing any real interest in you. Unless it’s to ask what you think of them.” I stumbled upon this blog post and want to share it with you. Are you in boring date syndrome mode? If so, this blog post will help you to rethink your approach and leave a donor wanting more.

How do you measure up?

Do a self-test. Think about your last donor meeting. How did the conversation go? Did you talk about you (the organization), or did you talk about them (the donor).

If you can focus on the donor and how their philanthropic and personal goals align with your nonprofit’s goals, your fundraising results will improve dramatically.

It really isn’t all about you when it comes to donors. It’s really all about them. 

If you feel a slight breeze near your left ear at your next donor meeting, don’t worry. It will be invisible me, reminding you to change the conversation and focus on the donor!

Because it should be all about them and how they make a difference – not all about you and how you make a difference!

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