Connecting with a donor or potential donor is so vital before you ask for a gift. It's like removing many of the roadblocks between you and that "YES!" response you want.
People want to give to people they like. It's not much of a secret. Ultimately, as a fundraiser you are a conduit for the relationship between that donor and the institution (not with you personally) but they must enjoy speaking with you to want to continue a relationship with the institution.
This is an important skill for any fundraiser to develop, from phonathon callers on up to executive directors, deans and development officers.
I have been to MANY call centers where they use the same tired rapport-building questions year after year after year. We cannot let this happen. No one wants to spend their precious time telling a new person why they haven't been back to campus lately just like they did last year.
Bad rapport-building has the opposite effect on the donor than that which we wish to cultivate.
The first rule of building rapport is it must be DIALOG not MONOLOGUE. You must ask questions that will solicit meaningful conversation and back and forth. You (no matter if you are a student caller or the Vice President of Advancement) must not deliver a litany of great-stuff-happening-at-our-institution without stopping for breath.
So, following this rule, we must construct meaningful rapport building questions.
The second rule about rapport building is that these questions get stale. Every year (at least) new rapport builders should be generated and put into rotation.
Here is some guiding criteria for generating these questions. Rapport building questions should:
What are some examples of strong rapport-building questions?
Does your rapport building need a refresh? Do you have some favorite rapport-building questions that I forgot to mention on my list? Comments and questions are, as always, welcomed and encouraged!
PS - If you liked this post, you might also like these:
PPS - If you found this article helpful, please comment and let me know. Also subscribe to Real Deal Fundraising so you don't miss a post! You'll get my guide to Call Center Games for Free!
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.