What Do I Say to a Donor or Funder?

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.

Comments (2)

  • Got it! Engaging your donor/funder in meaningful conversation is a great way to represent your organization in a very professional and caring way. This conversation guideline is also very effective in many business situations with clients (chosing your services or products) and partners (forming an alliance with you). One thing to always remember - - if you're going to ask for someone's advice, be upfront about what you intend to do with their feedback. No one appreciates blank promises. (Lorraine Rinker, Board Chair, Child Advocates of Placer County)

    Apr 16, 2008
  • In our community we have 9 nonprofits asking for corporate sponsorships. I am on the board of the Art Center and we are about to transition into a new location and will be starting a huge capital campaign, any suggestions?

    May 23, 2008

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