When you’re meeting with a donor for the first time, you probably have a lot going on at your organization that you’re just bursting to tell them about.

But that first conversation should really be about getting to know the donor, what they care about, and what inspired them to give.

In this Question of the Month video, Jeff shares about his first-ever experience as a major donor meeting with an MGO – and why the conversation made him feel even more deeply committed to the organization.

And if you’d like to learn a system and structure that will help you to have impactful conversations with your donors and connect them more deeply to your mission, check out our Certification Course for Major Gift Fundraisers. This is a comprehensive training that will give you our best practices, tools, and resources to help you create a thriving major gift program and communicate more strategically with your donors.

Watch the video or read the full transcript below:

Speaker: Jeff Schreifels
Hello, everyone. I’m Jeff Schreifels, Principal at Veritus Group. And today I want to share a powerful story that sheds light on what truly makes a great first meeting in fundraising. In my 30 plus years in this field, I’ve experienced various types of donor interactions. But a few years back, something unique happened. I found myself in the shoes of a donor, meeting with a Major Gift Officer. This experience was eye-opening, and I’d love to walk you through it.

First, the Major Gift Officer reached out to confirm our Zoom meeting four hours before our scheduled time. That simple act made a significant difference. It reminded me why this meeting was important, and showed her dedication to our interaction. The MGO arrived right on time ready for our meeting. Her professionalism set a positive tone from the get-go. She made me feel comfortable, acknowledging my previous gift and the Philadelphia-based non-profit’s lack of communication afterward. She delved into my connection with Philadelphia, allowing me to share my story. Her genuine interest and follow-up questions made me feel truly heard.

This genuine engagement was a game changer. Despite being new to fundraising with a theatre background, she exuded confidence, and had done her homework. She seamlessly integrated details about my profession, making the conversation both enjoyable and productive. She managed time expertly, respecting our agreed upon duration without making it feel rushed. Not once did she push for a donation, understanding the importance of building a relationship. As this was our first face-to-face meeting.

Her post-meeting emails were thoughtful. She shared a story related to our conversation, showing me that she truly absorbed our discussion. This meeting was a testament to the power of effective donor engagement. It felt like a conversation, not a solicitation. Her approach resonated with me as a donor, and I believe it’s a blueprint for successful donor interactions.

Remember, donors want to give by prioritizing comfort, active listening and genuine engagement, you can foster long-term relationships that go beyond just fundraising. If you follow the steps that this fundraiser took, it will go a long way toward building those key relationships. So thanks for listening. And I hope this glimpse into my experience as a donor can guide and inspire your approach in fostering more meaningful connections with your donors.