What do you take with you when invited for coffee by someone who would be a potential donor?
In my past life as an E.D. prior to meeting with a potential new donor, I would do as much research as I could on the new prospect. Good ole' Google works wonders, but if you have access to any wealth screening tools that would be useful too. In my research I'm would see what the donor has given to in the past, $ amounts given if available, events attended, life status (married with kids, single, widowed, etc). I'm writing as may bullet points as I can about that donor and entering them into my CRM. (BTW-I can highly recommend NonprofitCore 😀as a great place to keep track of donor notes, info, etc..).
Now that you have relevant information about your donor, you will be able tailor your messaging to resonate with your donors passions. What programs is your organization providing that will intersect with your donor's interests? I always tried to give timelines to donors as well, making their gift really relevant for a particular program, i.e. "I hear your passion for improving mental health access. We've got a program that is pioneering avenues to make mental health more accessible. Would you be interested in helping us fund one last critical component of this program? We are so close and if we could secure funding by X date, then we'd be ready to kick-start this program".
If you have any materials that match your donor's interest, take those with you. I always took a card that provided our organization website, information on how that donor could give, via mail, online., etc.. Do you have any great testimonials from participants that would match the donor's interest? Throw those in too. You can always decide what would be best to share as you navigate the conversation with your new prospect.
One last thought, be sure to allow your donor 75%+ of the conversation time. Ask questions based on your donor research to confirm your research findings. Let the donor do most of the talking. After really listening to the donor, you will do a much better job of matching your organization's need with the donor's giving passion.
I had a meeting with an Executive, who for an entire 2 hours, sat and told me about every single program their organization was running. It was like being in some kinda long-winded sales presentation. I knew they hadn't done any research on what my passions were as a donor, because they never tied my passion with their need. I left without making a commitment to give, plus I was exhausted after being talked AT for 2 hours.
Good luck with your coffee and let us know how it goes.
NonprofitCore Solutions Engineer - Foundant Technologies
Yes to emphasis on LISTENING! Use open-ended questions to keep them talking so that you can learn about what interests them most.
Thank you very much for these insights. The meeting went very well. We identified mutual friends and shared personal interests. We were able to match upcoming opportunities with the super talents of the donor which will give her opportunity to build relationship with some of our clients. It was an amazing time!!
The follow up is an area where I need to tighten, and getting them into the flow of my communication plan.