As a major gifts consultant I’m talking all the time about listening.

Ask any of my clients.

But what are you listening to?

It all starts with asking good questions.

Today I was on a donor call with a development officer who is new to this industry. We’re in the car and I’m drumming home the importance of asking good questions.

We’re going over the questions we’ve selected for this meeting. Based upon the organizations past relationship with the donor, what we know, and where we’d like to this go we had four particular questions we wanted to ask.

Of course there would be some small talk.

I can actually get stuck on the small talk. I actually find the donors I get to meet with to be very fascinating people.

But you can’t stay on the small talk.

You have to move on and talk about big stuff.

What’s the big stuff?

Not the 3 B’s:

Buildings, Budgets, and Baloney

I’m talking about asking questions that get the donor talking about the organization.

What they love about your organization.
Why they support you.
What motivates them to give.
What they really want to accomplish.
What they view as their own life mission.

Are you asking these types of questions?

Do the questions you ask actually help your donors search their heart?

Or are you just telling them one more mundane fact about your institution.

Or talking about the weather.