It starts before you ever pick up the phone to schedule a meeting with a major donor. Right there, between your own ears. It’s your motive for wanting the meeting in the first place.
Before I go on, let me ask you, why do you want to meet with a donor? Go ahead—write out your top 2 or 3 reasons. I’ll wait.
I’ve heard major gift officers say: “It’s obvious, Jeff. I want them to increase their giving to our ministry.” Or, “I want to tell them about how we’re helping the needy in our community so they’ll support us more”. And even, “To raise $x for our new building project.” Did any of your reasons sound anything like these? If so, you may be sabotaging your meetings before you ever pick up the phone.
Choose God’s Economy Over Your Own
In the examples above it’s clear that the motivation behind the meeting is all about the ministry, or the major gift officer’s needs, rather than focusing primarily on the donor. We need to align our economy—what we value, what motivates us—with God’s economy.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)
When it comes to fundraising, our path must begin with what is best for the donor. It’s not about you asking for money, it’s about you serving well those who God has prepared to be a partner in your mission to serve others.
So how do you look out for the interests of others while also faithfully fulfilling your fundraising role in your ministry?
- Begin By Focusing On Them
- Find out where their walk is with God.
- What do they care about, enjoy or pursue.
- Minister to their current issues, fears, needs.
- Find out how to best pray for them, their family, and their role at work.
Discuss Their Role In God’s Kingdom
- How do they believe God wants to work through them for the glory of His kingdom?
- Seek to help them expand their commitment to stewarding well what God has given them.
Explore Their Partnership With Your Ministry
- How much do they know about what your ministry really does?
- Find out how they want to get involved with your ministry.
- Discover what motivates them to support your ministry.
- Begin to craft an exciting vision for the future of your ministry.
Become A Valued Advisor
- Desire to become their friend, counselor, and even a spiritual guide.
- Provide them with resources, information and connections.
- Commit to praying regularly for them.
You can’t build relationship through letters, phone calls or social media. It demands connecting in person. And when you do, when you show an interest in others, and explore how you can best serve and minister to them, they will begin to trust you with themselves and their treasure.