[Warning: Rant in progress]
pink fluffy ear muffsIn my book Ask Without Fear!, I encourage fundraisers to PYITS--put yourself in their shoes. Thinking like the donor or prospect can save you lots of embarrassment in the process of asking for money.

But never forget: you are not your perfect donor

Your major gift donor prospects are not on the same life trajectory as you. They have different life goals, work patterns, and values. This is good. This is why they are in a financial place for you to be talking to them.

So listen to what they want.

Based on my trainings around the world, 70-75% of the people reading this blog are outgoing, gregarious extraverts who love to be recognized. Don't assume your donor wants their name up in lights. They may simply want a note of thanks from the CEO. Or maybe a quiet coffee with her.

On the other hand, if you tend to be more introverted and detail oriented, remember that your donor may indeed want to have his name listed as prominently as possible. Or to be recognized at a big gala.

Today, take off your ear muffs

Even if you could never conceive of anyone really wanting "that" [splashy recognition, quiet recognition, whatever], listen to what the donor wants.

As you go through your day today, take off your ear muffs to listen. It might even help to stop at the donors office door and pantomime taking off ear muffs.

You'll be able to raise alot more money when you remember that you really aren't your perfect donor.
[The rant is now over]

How do you stop assuming you know and really listen? Tell us in the comments!

About Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the CEO of The Concord Leadership Group, the author of Ask Without Fear! and director of The Nonprofit Academy. A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.
To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to


  1. Eric Frans says:

    Listening is the peerless strategic differentiator


  1. [...] Brief Rant: You are Not Your Perfect Donor [The Fundraising Coach] 0 Comments [...]

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