5 ways to ace a donor meeting
1. Focus on what you can do for them, not them for you
Donors have agendas. You job is to work out what theirs is and how it could align with yours
2. Don't be apologetic
You are not begging. You're offering them an opportunity to achieve their aims. It might be some social climbing, it might be their philanthropic vision, it might be driving custom to their business.
3. Ask open exploratory questions
What do you most enjoy about your involvement with the charities you support?
How do your existing charitable partnerships meet the needs of your business?
Paint me a picture of how you would like to (add cause here) end child poverty.
4. Listen most of the time
Your role is to offer a concise inspirational summary (3mins) of your mission to start the conversation and then direct it lightly using open questions. You want to understand all about their needs so you know what proposal to put to them.
5. Know what end goal you're aiming for
Is it understanding which specialists to introduce them to within your organisation to explore a partnership? Is it knowing what project you want your CEO to ask them to fund? Is it getting them on board as a volunteer? Is it a small starter gift, a legacy pledge, an introduction to the chair of their foundation with a recommendation?
A bonus 6. Tie down next actions
There's no point leaving the meeting without clear agreed time-bound actions. Wherever possible, keep the initiative - "I'll speak to my wife, we'll think about it and get back to you" is too vague. You will be delicately chasing forever. Say "Great. Can I speak to your P.A. to schedule a catch up in a couple of weeks to hear your thoughts?"
And if there are a handful of prospects who you are struggling to get a meeting with, you can read my blog here on how to get that face:face