You know who they are.
The fundraiser who makes it look easy. Getting the big gifts. Loving their job. Always smiling. At the cocktail party they’re surrounded by all the donors you want to know. From across the room it almost looks like donors are rushing them like shoppers at a black Friday sale. What’s their secret?
Today is your lucky day. Buckle up, buttercup! I’m spilling the beans. I’m ALSO giving you 10 rapport-building discovery questions to turn you into a great conversationalist AND reap you unforgettable nuggets of wisdom about your donors that if used properly can deepen your relationship with them in a matter of minutes. Too good to be true? Try me!
3 Things The Best Fundraisers Do Differently
#1 They know it’s not about them (or the organization). It’s about the donor.
They don’t start a conversation with “I have important updates!” They don’t dominate a conversation by talking about themselves or the organization. In real life we get sidetracked with all the great things we want to tell our donors and it’s easy to forget that the heart of our communication should be the exact opposite. Donors give for their reasons, not ours and the more you find out about their passions and interests the better you can craft an ask.
#2 They are intensely curious people who genuinely care.
They have a knack for remembering seemingly innocuous details about a person’s life. They are genuinely curious about what matters most to their donors and they don’t hesitate to celebrate and honor it.
#3 They ask the great questions and quickly build rapport.
Great fundraisers recognize that time with donors is a precious commodity and they make every second count by being prepared with great questions to build rapport and deepen the relationship. I could talk all day (and sometimes do when people hire me to lead a custom training or board retreat!) about how to do great discovery with a donor. Here’s a few of my favorite discovery questions PLUS some “depth charge” bonus questions to quickly build rapport.
1. What motivated you to make your first gift to us?
2. What is the most satisfying philanthropic gift you ever made and why?
3. Of all the great agencies you’re involved with, who does the best job of keeping you involved? How?
4. What legacy do you most want your giving to have in the world?
5. What do you love about what you do?
Bonus questions “depth charge” questions
6. Which do you wish you had more of…time or money? What would you do with it if you got it?
7. What makes you happy despite anything?
8. What is something new you’d like to try or learn?
9. What mistake or failure in your life taught you the most?
10. What was the hardest choice you ever had to make?
These discovery tips are a SNEAK PEEK of the goodies my students will be getting in my new course, coming soon, Makeover My Fundraising. Join the VIP waitlist and you'll get 20% off if you decide to sign up. Want more help with discovery? I got your back. This discovery guide is loaded with all the soft skills, tips and scripts you need to nail discovery.