Let's say you're at a reception, a conference, or a holiday party and across the room you see someone who has made a donation or a grant to the organization on whose board you serve. What do you say?
First, thank the donor: "Glad to meet you. I want to thank you for all the support you've given our organization. It means a lot to us."
Second, introduce yourself: "I'm a board member. I got involved because I think this cause is so important."
Third, ask why he or she gives: "I'd like to ask you a question . . . what is it about our organization that made you decide to a contribution/grant to us?"
Fourth, ask for advice: "If there were one thing you wish we'd change about our organization, what would it be?"
Got it? TIA-1: Thank, Introduce, Ask why, and 1 thing.