Key to donor relationships is asking great questions, listening and talking less

How to Fail at Donor Relationships—Part II

How to Fail at Donor Relationships—Part II

by Bill High

This post is the second in a two-part series. Want to know another great way to fail at donor relationships?

Ron had finally managed to set up what he thought was one of those mountaintop meetings—a key major donor. He thought he’d arrived. This man was known to be generous and quick to give.

But Ron was nervous. He didn’t want to botch it. So he called me for advice. I told him simply, “Ron, ask questions and listen. Talk less.” That was the extent of my advice.

Ron was an eager student and promised me that he would follow my advice. The big day arrived—the appointed time of the meeting. Afterwards, Ron was the first to call me. He was bubbling, beyond enthusiastic over how well the meeting had gone. He was confident that the dollars would soon start flowing. Ron promised me that he’d followed my advice to the letter. He’d asked questions, listened and did less of the talking…

Funny thing. A few days later I ran into my friend, the donor, who was the object of Ron’s meeting. I asked him how the meeting went. He laughed, and said, “Oh that! It was horrible—he did all the talking and I could hardly get a word in, and all he wanted to do was talk about the ministry.”

It bears repeating. Ask questions. Listen. Talk less.



Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

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Published April 27, 2011

Topics: Nonprofit Development

DonorsNonprofit Development

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