The Philantrepreneur Journal - Page 19

TPF JOURNAL with the rich and famous. Understand how your agency and its program impact your funders’ charitable philosophy, motivations for giving, and expectations. While you need to raise money to run the organization, donors give for a variety of reasons. They believe in you. Maybe your agency served them or a relative. They feel an obligation to give back. Maybe they seek the social prestige they might obtain by donating to your agency. The way to find out? Ask them. WHO DID YOU SAY YOU WERE TALKING TO? Make sure you’re talking to the right person – the decision maker. You might not know that at first, so use similar questioning techniques to find out. If you’re talking to a foundation’s junior support staff, a sales person at the corporate sponsor, or the donor prospect’s brother-in-law’s dog groomer, those people can’t make the decision. Go ahead and find out their role. They’re certainly worth cultivating if they can introduce or sponsor you to the right person. To put this all more succinctly – stop chasing the money! If you’re not talking to the right person, rethink it. If you’re trying to cultivate a “donor” who really doesn’t want what you offer, or you have to redesign your whole program just to win a grant, cut it out. Or I’ll yell at you. THE FOUR-STEP QUESTIONING SYSTEM Good questioning skills may come naturally to some people; the rest of us need to be taught. Here’s how to ask persuasive questions, questions that persuade others to do whatever it is that YOU are trying to get THEM to achieve. These skills are valuable if you are fundraising, managing others, or dealing with unruly children. 19 want to hear. Know the answers you want to hear, before you hear them. Who am I questioning, by name and type of prospective funder? What am I trying to accomplish with this/these questions? What answers am I looking for? • Step 2: Ask. Go ahead and ask your question. Be direct without being confrontational. For one thing, the prospect is already aware you’re seeking a charitable gift. There is no need to pussy-foot around. • Step 3: Listen and Evaluate. Pay attention and listen actively. As you listen, ask yourself a few questions, such as the following. Write down your own examples where shown. What did I hear (the facts, the things the prospect actually said)? What does that tell me (the meaning behind the facts)? Can we (our agency) fulfill their expectations? Are their expectations and yours in alignment? In other words, can you provide the service, support, recognition, visibility etc. that seems to be important to this prospect? What actions or responses would be appropriate at this time? As you read through the Four Steps, please think of a specific prospective funder, and use that prospect as your ‘case study.’ Write down how you would execute each Step, with that funder in mind. • Step Four: Respond or Take Action. This is where you really begin to gain trust. As you take the fourth step, keep your focus on the donor and not on your own needs. • Step 1: Plan for Questioning. Before you ask any questions, figure out what it is you are trying to accomplish. In the context of this report, you are trying to establish trust and learn if the prospect represents a good, bad or indifferent investment for your agency. So you need to know whom you are questioning, what their role is (i.e. major donor, corporate executive, grant-maker staff ), what their charitable goals may be, and most important, what answers you o Summa