4 Suggestions to Help You Be More Friendly

Posted by on Aug 10, 2013 | 0 comments

Do you remember the saccharin-sweet person you couldn’t stand to be around? Do you remember the always-a-downer person who never was invited to anything? Are you either of these two? If you are, or if you have someone on your staff who is,  take a deep breath and start to make a plan for change, because saccharin-sweet and always-a-downer personalities can take down an organization.


Donors are looking for authentic. They want passion and enthusiasm. They want to feel good about what they are doing. How we approach them can make the difference between a “yes” or a “no”.  Our demeanor can make or break a donor relationship.

Friendly is defined as having goodwill. Friendly is not hostile.  Friendly is warm and comforting.

Are you friendly when you meet with donors? Or do your nerves take over and cause the meeting to feel tense (the opposite of warm and comforting)? There are four clues to improve your “friendly” factor, they are:

  1. SOUND FRIENDLY: Ease your voice: Don’t talk too fast or too loud. Practice the “prepared” part of an expected conversation before the meeting.
  2. APPEAR FRIENDLY: Sit or stand comfortably. Don’t fidget. Don’t furrow your brow. Don’t hunch and cross your arms. Relax your shoulders. Let your hands rest easily, don’t clench them together (or fiddle your thumbs!).
  3. SMILE FRIENDLY! Nothing says “friendly” more than a smile. (Don’t forget to brush your teeth and do a quick rearview mirror check for a clump of pepper or green flake, so you can smile confidently in the meeting – there’s nothing worse than wondering if you have something in your teeth). A genuine smile can rock the world.
  4. LOOK FRIENDLY: Make eye contact. Don’t look down and up and all around. Look at the person you’re talking to. This makes you approachable and also shows that you are interested in them.
To borrow something from my mother: Friendly is as friendly does. For a nonprofit fundraiser, friendly begins with a phone call or first time meeting and continues through follow up notes, thank you letters, requests for input, personal meetings and really never ends. Donors may irritate or disappoint, but it’s their money that’s funding your projects. Being friendly, even if we’re disappointed, stressed, or discouraged, is the least we can do to say thank you.
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Rotary, Hot Dogs, My Dad and Me

Posted by on May 24, 2013 | 0 comments

My Dad was a Rotarian. I remember him heading off to work a Rotary hot dog stand on more than one occasion. He was also a Century 21 real estate agent and I clearly remember his mustard yellow Century 21 blazer. What’s odd is that I have this memory of him heading off to a hot dog stand in his mustard yellow Century 21 blazer…could that be true?

My Dad was a journalist as well. He was the trivia man before trivia games were popular. He knew little known details that always surprised me. He was at the airport when The Beatles first landed in Los Angeles. He started the first “help” column in print journalism. He was tall and ornery and a cowboy at heart. He had a temper, but would do anything for his girls. He wore cowboy boots, but was really never a rancher – although his Dad was. He had 6 brothers and sisters. He drove a Renault. He loved bars and socializing. He had an eye for interior design. He was an artist.

Why am I telling you these things? Because my Dad was also a philanthropist. He didn’t have a lot of money, but he gave. He gave in time, service, and dollars.  In other words, my Dad was a donor. And as a fundraiser, the seemingly unimportant details I listed above would have been helpful in determining what kind of donor my Dad might be.

If you’re a fundraiser, take a look at the details and imagine what kind of presentation you might have made to my Dad…it will be a good exercise. Then remember to do your homework before approaching your donors. The more you know about them – the REAL them – the more successful your relationship will be.

I loved my Dad. Even in that hideous mustard yellow blazer. I am a Rotarian because of his example. I sold real estate for Century 21 for 5 years. I love to write. I still love small European cars. I love to network and socialize. I love interior design. I had 6 kids. I am a wannabe artist. I don’t have a lot of money either, but I am passionate about the causes I support.

Oh, and I even had a hideous mustard yellow blazer of my own. What kind of donor might I be?

Isn’t that the million dollar (or atleast $25) question for a fundraiser?

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