By Theresa Fleck, CFRE, Senior Consultant

One of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspects of a successful fundraising program is the personal relationships you have with your donors. The more knowledge you have of a donor’s interests, capacity and passion, the more likely you are to ask for the right gift, of the right amount, at the right time.

So, how do you get to know your donors? Simple! Ask them to meet for coffee or lunch. But before you pick up the phone and start scheduling, review these quick tips to ensure your meetings are a success.

  1. Do your homework. Don’t ever meet with a donor without doing a little research first. How long has the donor given to your organization? What does he/she do professionally? Do they have any personal connections that might be important? The more you know about the donor before the meeting, the better you will be able to appropriately guide the conversation (and possibly avoid pitfalls!).
  2. Less talking, more listening. A discovery visit should be just that – an opportunity to discover what makes the donor tick. What are his/her passions? Why does he/she give to your organization? Often, fundraisers tend to do more talking than needed on the first visit, which reduces the amount of important donor information that can be gathered.
  3. Respect the donor’s time. When you schedule a 1-hour meeting, make sure to protect the donor’s time by starting and ending the meeting on time. This small gesture shows the donor that you value their commitment to you and your organization.

The Discovery Visit is an important part of the overall fundraising cycle. Let’s Build Hope can help you develop a comprehensive program to engage your donors and maximize your fundraising capacity. Contact to learn how!

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