Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's Not About the Money

I rarely talk about work in my blog.

But ... I'll make an exception today. I'm gonna philosophize so I will understand if you skip this one and tune in later.

My job is to raise money for USF and manage other fundraisers. 

I love my staff (I really do). They are bright, passionate about the university we represent and ... they dress well. Fundraisers are an interesting breed. They take no for an answer (a lot), when they aren't listening to no they hear a fair share of empty promises amid the "full" ones.

They are the sales force.

Each day, they check their prospect list for that next big gift. They plan proposals, work events, make phone calls, join Rotary Clubs, make more phone calls ... until one hits. They live a fairly schizophrenic life. When they do "close a gift" they are heroes ... when they don't ... well ... they usually blame the economy or something.

So ... What do you need to do to be a good fundraiser?

I'm glad you asked. Here are my top three things:

1. Listen 
2. Be nice 
3. Don't talk about yourself 

Listening is harder than it sounds (get it?). Good listeners practice eye contact, actually paying attention to what is being said and only looking at their cell phones 10 times instead of 50. Some like to take notes while they listen. They feel the person talking will appreciate their thoroughness. I don't ... I think they appreciate their attention much more.

Being nice means just what it says. The opposite is not necessarily being mean ... it can be being indifferent, arrogant or rude. We've all been in restaurants when a server is dressed down by a customer or an office worker is treated as a shade above a servant. Being nice to everyone is recognized by everyone. Being nice to a donor is a given. Being nice to everyone that comes in contact with that donor should be.  

Don't talk about yourself. Try this next time you're in a conversation. Count the number of times others that you might have little respect for talk about themselves. Yep ... that could be how you sound too.

So what does this have to do with raising money?


You see ... people give money to other people. They respect and support institutions ... but they give money to other people. I could give you all the fundraising techniques in the world from closing gifts to prospecting and stewardship. All good stuff ... but substance wins out over style

And besides ... this is stuff only fundraisers need ... right?


A Daft Scots Lass said...

You're the featured Friday Follower tomorrow over at A Daft Scots Lass.

Grab the button and linky up, Plonker!

Thanx again for being so patient.

Anonymous said...

Just found your funny site and nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Pop on over if you'd like to participate, otherwise, no worries. :)

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