The Most Important Question You Can Ask A Donor

by Erik Rogers, Chief Strategist Major Gift Services

When it comes to connecting with major donors and cultivating healthy, thriving relationships, questions are critical. And if you want to truly understand the heartbeat of your donor, I believe there is one that stands above the rest:

“Why do you choose to support our organization?” 

The answer to this question will uncover everything you want to know about who that donor is and more importantly, how well they align with your organization.

Imagine a donor gave $10,000 to your organization as a first-time gift, four months ago.

You say,

“I’m blown away by your support to this organization. Tell me, why did you give the $10,000? What was it that moved you to want to be a part of our mission at that level and invest so deeply with us?” 

Then, just sit and listen. She might say something like, “Well, it was your organization that allowed me to find my child that I adopted 15 years ago. I want to make sure that I give back so other people can find adoption services.”

Or you might hear about the house that is a refuge for women in sex slavery and how you provided a place for them to escape. You might hear about how you’re proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ throughout the country and she wants to invest in the broadcast to a broader audience.

She is giving because she believes in who you are. She has a reason for giving to your organization.

She’s telling you what moves her. She’s telling you why she chooses to support organizations like yours. Most importantly, she’s letting you know what she cares most about.

Once you align that insight with what your organization does, you then gain permission to come back and say,

“Would you mind if I share more about that specific area of interest? In fact, we’re putting some documents together right now and have a project that’s almost complete. We’re looking for a few supporters that might be interested in what we’re doing. Would you like more information about that?

But it all starts with your understanding of why she chooses to give to your organization in the first place.

Uncover that one question and you’ll move the relationship to the next level.

For more information on major gift strategies, check out our Dunham Institute course, Major Gift Development: Managing Expectations.


More Insights from Dunham+Company: “Get to Know Today’s Planned Giving Donors”

Ready to take the next step? Dunham+Company is here to help your organization have more impact and establish deeper relationships with your donors and supporters. Contact Bethany Cranfield at 469-454-0100 to get more information.