Make a practice to remember the little details you hear in conversation with donors, even if it seems irrelevant to fundraising. I promise, it matters. I'm not talking about remembering what their career is or how many kids they have. Those details are not irrelevant. These details impact your work directly.
Here's an example of what might have otherwise passed me by. I had a casual conversation with a board member and we talked about how his wife is into weaving. Although that's not a hobby of mine and has nothing what-so-ever to do with the mission of the organization we both serve, I made a mental note.
At a national convention associated with our organization, I was talking with another donor to told me that she wove one of the tapestries that hang in the school. A light bulb went off! Since the board member was East Coast and this donor was West Coast it was unlikely they had me beforet. I introduced that donor to the wife of the board member at our Gala and they talked most of the night. The donor is a graduate and the board member of course is intimately connected to our school right now, so the fact that they met and bonded over weaving as a mutual hobby ultimately strengthen their connections to the school.
Similarly, when you email a donor and get an out-of-office message, read it. If it says they are traveling to Europe, inquire about how their trip was when you follow back up. (You did put a calendar items in to follow up with them a few days after their out-of-office message says that they'll be back right?)
Long-story-short, remembering the little details that don't seem at all connected to your goal (raising funds) will show your donor that you care enough about them as a person to pay serious attention. And it gives you the raw material to make connections and introductions that will be meaningful to your donors.
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.