Conversation“I don’t know what to talk about.”
That statement sums up the dilemma faced by many MGOs who, on a daily basis, get stuck with not knowing what to talk about with their caseload donor.
It’s a common problem with a remarkably simple solution.
If you’re thinking about the donor’s money, and how you can get your hands on it – believe me, you’ll have an exceedingly difficult time coming up with things to talk about. Why? Because your focus will be on the donor’s money, NOT on the donor.
And when you’re in that state of mind, after a few connections you’ll find yourself speechless, because there are only so many ways you can approach the money subject before the donor shuts you down. The donor isn’t interested in talking about how they can give you their money.
But if your conversation and line of inquiry is about what the donor is interested in – about the very deep and personal motivations that drive the donor, and about the good the donor wants to do on the planet – if that’s what you want to talk about, you’ll never run out of topics and content.
You know what this is like. You’re in a conversation and the subject is supremely boring to you, or the person talking to you has some agenda that you’re having to defend against, or the person is engaged in a self-serving, ego-stroking session of aggrandizement.
If you’re in a situation like that, every minute seems like a century. Your body is screaming for release. You want to run away. You can’t breathe. The whole thing is suffocating. You know what that’s like.
But on the other hand, if you’re in a conversation where the topic is close to your heart and to your personal motivations and drivers – four hours can go by in a nanosecond. You say to yourself: “Goodness, where did the time go?” And you’re amazed that so much time has gone by and you’re not worn out! It’s a wonderful experience.
If you find yourself in a situation with your caseload donor where you don’t know what to talk about – it’s because you don’t know what the donor’s passions, interests, and drivers are. And since you don’t know, every time you connect with that donor you’re blathering on about (basically) nothing. That’s why it’s so painful for you and the donor. And it’s why you find yourself saying: “I don’t know what to talk about.”
But if you do know their drivers (their passions and interests), you have an endless supply of topics and content to talk to your donor about. And you can engage with the donor frequently in very productive, fun, and engaging conversation where the time just flies by, and you experience a donor who says: “I don’t know where the time went.”
Take a moment and pull out your list of caseload donors. Go down the list, one at a time, and ask yourself this question on each one:

Do I know what to talk about with this donor?

If you don’t, then you know that your focus with that donor has been on the wrong things.
Stop and correct that. Figure out the donor’s passions, interests, and drivers – get to a place where you deeply understand what your donor wants to do on the planet and why. (Tweet it!)
Then you’ll be ready to engage.
It’s that simple.