A non-profit organization needs to rely on donors if it is to be successful, but meeting with those prospective donors can be daunting. It’s easy for a novice to say or do the wrong thing and lose a potentially valuable donation during this process, so here are just a few things that you should and should not do when meeting with donors.
Do Your Homework
Before you meet with a prospective donor, familiarize yourself with them as much as possible. Most organizations and individuals who are willing to make a large charitable donation most likely have a history that can be studied with a few Google searches, so you have no excuse for not knowing anything about them. Learn what their organization stands for if they have one, what kinds of causes they’ve donated to in the past, and anything else you think might be useful. Be careful about going into too much personal history about an individual though; you don’t want to come across as a stalker or someone who will bring up uncomfortable information during your meeting.
Leave For Your Meeting Early
Never assume that things will go perfectly for you when you leave for any meeting. Getting stuck in traffic because of an accident or bad weather could easily make you late, which is one of the worst things that can happen when you are going to a meeting with a potential donor. Give yourself 15 to 30 minutes of extra time when you leave for your meeting, especially if you’re going someplace that is unfamiliar. Just try not to be too early for your meeting. Having to wait about ten minutes in a lobby is one thing, but if you’re a whole half hour early, either go someplace else to wait so you don’t come off as too eager and desperate.
Know What You Want, But Be Flexible
You should have an idea of what kind of donation you want for your meeting before you go in, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for that. On the other hand, you should also be flexible and be willing to compromise. Even if you don’t get the donation you wanted, a smaller donation is better than nothing at all. Don’t just as for any donation, though. Not putting an amount on what you need will just tell your donor that you don’t care enough about your cause and could cause you to walk away with an amount that really isn’t worth your time. In other words, be prepared to negotiate.