Good Listener Is Good Major Donors Fundraiser

Someone asked me “What are the top skills required to become a great major gifts fundraiser?” My response: “There are many different skills required to become successful major gifts fundraiser, however, ”Good Listening Skills” are one of the top skills one needs to have to become a good fundraiser. Also, you don’t have to do much, all you have to do is, to train yourself to lend a good ear. Listen to your donors not with the intent to reply, but with an intent to understand them. Only a good listener will be likely to be more outstanding in striking up a thoughtful conversation with the prospects and then turning that into a successful relationship. It’s an old joke that you approach your prospect for the donation you get advice and if you ask for advice you might get money. What does this tells us, when we ask for advice means we are prepared to listen. So better be a GOOD LISTENER.

Major gifts fundraising is all about developing your rapport with HNI which requires skills to converse and communicate at that level and good conversations always start from good listening skills. What we need to remember is that our prospects are not our friends until we work towards it, all we know about them is what our prospect researcher has told us. Therefore, meetings with your prospect are your opportunity to know as much as you can about them. Which means let them speak as much they can and you just play a role of a GOOD Listener. Off course, you should control the conversation and should lead towards where you want the conversation to end up, but that can be done by doing less talk and more of listening. Usually, in first meeting your prospects are not interested in listening to your boring presentation, rather they are more interested in telling you why they did let you meet them in the first place and why they want to get involved and what are their future plans.They might want to talk about their recent holidays, and their hobbies, or how they feel about the world they share and how they want to play their role in it, let them talk, lending a good ear always wins strong relationships…

Remember, when you leave the meeting you don’t want your prospect to say at your back ‘’ this guy talks too much and goes on and on and on’’. You rather leave the first meeting with positive touch with the clear idea of what are the next steps and how you will be meeting this person again and again, if you talk too much do you think your prospect will be still willing to meet again. I don’t think so…….