How to approach larger donors through questions

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Our blog on Tuesday covered how to research a potential big donor. Today’s blog covers how to approach the potential donor.
The third step is the most challenging aspect of building this new relationship because it means to create the actual approach. How might I warm up the call based on what I’ve learned during the first two phases of our system? A warm call is when you have a connection to the person you’re calling, as opposed to a call out of the blue. This part took me the longest time to master but may be the easiest for you. I reverse direction by leading by from behind. I ask the person I’ve identified for help in locating the right person to talk with. Yes, even with all the research I’ve done in advance, I approach the person as if I don’t know a lot about them and their unique needs. I know what you’re thinking, “Why do it this way?” I learned this from a very successful mentor of mine. If you open your mouth, there is always room to insert your own foot, but don’t be afraid that you don’t have enough to offer, your organization does, and so do you. By asking for assistance, you are more likely to get the person you’re calling to relax. You’re also more likely to bring them onto your team more successfully. Asking is a better form of leadership than trying to impress them with all of your research. I look at it as the research we’ve already done is for us. I don’t know about you, but for me having all this research gives me confidence. I feel comfortable and I know I’m prepared if they turn the tables and ask what I know about them and their lives. I’m ready. You just never know when you will be asked.
The two resources I would recommend to get you started are How Today’s Rich Give by Harvey McKinnon, CFRE and The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J Stanley, Ph. D. Both of these books and CDs will help you better understand individuals in today’s society who have accumulated significant wealth and how they see the world. The world has changed a lot since Thomas Stanley wrote his book, but if you’re working with executives or small and mid-size business owners it will help you get a better understanding of them. The CDs by Harvey McKinnon will help you better understand the new wealth that has been created by high growth, technology, and social businesses .These business executives and owners are younger , hipper and just starting to get involved in philanthropy.
In next week’s blog, we will share how to avoid potential landmines in dealing with your new donors and how to maximize their involvement in your nonprofits.

Tripp Braden is a Funding Strategist, working with nonprofits to increase their funding options and optimize their revenues by building on their strengths. He can be reached at

About the Author

Tripp Braden partners with entrepreneurs and senior executives on their high engagement C-Suite communication and content marketing strategies.

He believes client education is the best way of building trust and long term sustainable growth.

His consulting practice focuses on second stage entrepreneurs, technology organizations, and senior level business executives. Tripp partners with clients to develop high impact C-Suite communication and account based marketing strategies.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact Tripp at or send him an invite on LinkedIn. You can find Tripp’s business growth blog at Market Leadership Journal.

Tripp Braden – who has written posts on Empowering Serving Leaders.

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