You’ve probably experienced it. You decide on a course of action. You are absolutely convinced it is right. You make a decision. Then more info comes in and you change your mind because the new info has convinced you that the new direction is the course you WANT to take. So, you take it.

Why? Because you became convinced that that is what you WANTED to do.

This has happened to me so many times. And, I am sure, it has happened to you as well.

It’s a dynamic that you need to pay attention to in your work with your qualified caseload donors.

Your donors want certain things – they feel very strongly about them. Your objective is to know what they are and serve the donor.

But here’s the thing. Wants are a strange thing. You think you know what they are, but you don’t. Because your relationship with your donor has not matured to the place where the donor is telling you the whole story. 

Here is a typical situation.

You think you know what your donor’s passions and interests are. So, you send the donor information about what your organization is doing relative to those passions and interests. You go further and create an ask around those passions and interests. You present the ask, and the donor gives you a negative or less than enthusiastic response.

Why did this happen? In very few cases, the donor is just not in a financial place to respond to your request. Believe me, this is rarely the case.

The true story is that you did not give the donor what they wanted. So, they turned you down. And rather than get all depressed about this reality, Jeff and I suggest you dig deeper into what the donor wants.

Your interaction with the donor might go something like this: “DONOR NAME, it seems that I failed to give you information on what you want to support. Would you mind if I asked some more questions to better understand your interests?”

If YES they would mind, then exit the conversation graciously while saying, as you exit: “OK, no problem. I just want to be sure that everything we send you meets all of your needs as relates to your interest in [INSERT YOUR CAUSE]. Any help you can give in the future to guide me to do this right with you would really be appreciated.” Then honor the donor and leave it there.

If NO they would not mind, then ask questions like:

  • Could you share more about what didn’t interest you?
  • What programs are really connecting with your heart right now?

And then be curious in an authentic way and pursue the answers to those questions wherever they want to lead. By doing that, you will get to the true WANTS. Which is exactly where you should be.

Remember – donors usually do what they want.