Have you ever tried to get a donor to meet with you in person?
Did you succeed? Was it challenging?
This is a question I get asked all the time: How do I get a donor to meet with me for the first time?
If you’re wondering how to get a donor to meet with you for the first time, I want you to ask yourself, “What is the goal for the meeting?” This will help you clarify the purpose of the meeting in your own mind.
Your First Meeting with a Donor
Here are some good goals for your first meeting:
- You want to thank the donor for any past gifts.
- You want to provide brief programs updates and answer any questions the donor may have.
- Most importantly, you want to get to know the donor better, including building your relationship with them. You will do this, in large part, by asking their advice (more on this below).
CAUTION — If you simply tell them you want to thank them and provide an update, they won’t feel the need to meet with you. Why? Because you can send them updates in the mail. They’ll tell you that an in-person ‘thank you’ isn’t necessary.
However, you need to meet with people in person in order to build relationships with your donors. In order to get them to meet, instead tell them you need their advice.
The number one thing that people love to talk about is themselves. You may have heard this before, and it’s true! So why not let the donor discuss their favorite topic — themselves?
What Sort of Advice Should You Ask Your Donors For?
Start with simple “getting to know you” questions.
- Why did you give to our charity in the first place?
- What makes you continue to contribute?
Then ask specifically for their advice regarding your organization:
- What is your favorite aspect of our program?
- What is your least favorite aspect? And, what should we do to improve that?
- How are we (our organization) perceived in the community? What can we do to improve that perception?
Assure Your Donors
Assure your donors that this will be a quick meeting (about 20 minutes), scheduled at their convenience — ideally, their home or office.
With that kind of assurance, plus the opportunity to lend their advice, few people will turn down the meeting.
How have you struggled to get first-time meetings with donors? Tell me about it in the comments.