Walking the Talk With Your Donors

Stay Focused and Be Authentic

The ultimate rule in donor-focused philanthropy is that that we must work diligently to remove as many distractions (and even potential distractions) as possible when working with donors, so as to be more capable of making an authentic connection.

Here is a scenario that really puts this to the test:

Imagine that you are engaged in conversation with a potential donor at probably the most critical juncture of your time together - and then your cell phone rings with the sound that indicates that one of your family members is calling. What do you do? 

Of course, you answer - it’s your family. So, how do you handle the moment?

  • If you are in a very small group session – comprising five or fewer members – stay right where you are and say something to the effect of, “Excuse me, but this is my family calling and I must answer.”
  • If the group consists of more than five members, you should excuse yourself from the space (by saying the same thing).

Of course, you want to get off the phone just as quickly as you can. When you answer, if you don’t already know which family member is calling, find that out immediately. Then, take control of the call and ask if this is an emergency. If the call is not an emergency, indicate that you aren’t available at the moment but that you look forward to talking with your family member again as soon as you are. 

Nothing is more important than family – our family and the donor prospect's family. Your donor prospect's respect for you will only increase when they realize that you really do walk the talk.