.One of the hardest stages of asking for money is getting the appointment. The good news is that getting the appointment is mostly about consistency and polite persistence. But hardwiring plays a role too.

DISC quadrants

For a more complete description of the four DISC quadrants, click the image to go to Marc's talk from the 2017 Nonprofit Storytelling Conference. Or go to: https://youtu.be/96_8QCOs0iM?t=1730 The DISC part starts around minute 28.

In my Quadrant 3 Leadership training, I show participants how our hardwiring can impact our leadership: abilities, behaviors, and motivations. Most assessments are geared to behavior hardwiring. The one I like the most for this is the DISC assessment.

The DISC model comes from an ancient Greek behavior theory that classifies human beings based on two axes:

  • the active/reserved axis and
  • the task-centered/people-centered axis.

Active people are quick to action, talk fast, and tend to think by verbally processing. Reserved people tend to have a more deliberate pace, talk more slowly, and tend to think internally before verbalizing.

Task-centered people tend to lead with tasks and deadlines and objectives. At times at the cost of relationships. People-centered people tend to lead with relationships and others, sometimes at the cost of actually getting tasks accomplished.

In their Asking Styles teaching, using a similar model, Andrea Kihlstedt and Brain Saber offer tips that can each of the four types modify their fundraising work to get the results they want. Let's look at how each type might best set up major donor appointments.

Tips for Setting Up Fundraising Appointments

While just about anybody asking for money needs to set up appointments, the way you set them up may be influenced by your DISC style. Here are some tips that may help you (or help you understand the people you manage).

When setting up calls:

D's - Active/Task-Centered People

  • Pick up the phone! You’ll be great just calling the people out of the blue.
  • Remember that your goal includes money and relationships! Remind yourself to be aware of the person as much as you are focused on setting a meeting.
  • Don't be too fast to hangup. You'll be so focused on the task of making the call, and the need to make many more, that you might hangup faster than others expect. That can leave them feeling "used" or disrespected. Try counting to 3 before hanging up.

I's - Active/People-Centered People

  • As much as you want one, you’re not going to fit into a “regular” schedule. You can try setting aside 9 am to 10 am to make calls. But most I's find they don't stick with that. Asking Styles suggests using your bursts of energy to your advantage. Keep a list of names and numbers ready so you can call when the mood strikes. (I’d remind you that you do still need to set up appointments – whether you feel like it or not!)
  • Remember your job is to raise money – not just friends. Your strength is in building relationships. That is great. But be sure to set up appointments using wording like “I’d like to get together for coffee to talk about a project" or other wording that lets them know your appointment has a purpose beyond just hanging out.
  • Don't feel like you're being disrespectful if you just greet the person, set up the meeting, and hangup. Many people do not want a long phone conversation. You can visit when you're at the appointment.

S's - Reserved/People-Centered People

  • Looking at your entire prospect list could be overwhelming. So create smaller groups to focus on. Maybe groups of 10 donors at a time. Or people committed to a similar project.
  • The lack of formal structure in “just making calls” will likely drain you. So consider setting up calls through a letter or an email. (Most active people will see writing a letter as a stall tactic. They'll say "just pick up the phone!" But it’s not. As you write the letter or email, you define your role in the appointment and remind yourself of your goals and the reason for the appointment.
  • Be prepared to feel like you’re “insisting” on a face-to-face meeting. Your tendency is to not want to inconvenience others. But face-to-face will help you and them get your best results. So make sure you pleasantly persist with people until they agree to a face-to-face meeting.

C's - Reserved/Task-Centered People

  • You’ll be great at contacting lots of prospect. Your commitment and sense of duty will make sure you get them done. And your organizational abilities will help you keep all the calls straight.
  • Feel free to write a letter or send an email to set up the appointment. The writing will help you plan your visit.
  • If you make calls, remember to smile. People really can hear a “smile” on the phone. And, try to let them hangup first. Or count to three before you hangup. You don't want people to think they were a "task" to get through.

Use Hardwiring for Help, not for Excuses

Don't allow yourself to be “labeled” DISC. You are wonderfully complex. Tools like this should never be used to limit you. And don't use them as an excuse for why you “can’t” do something. We’re all required to stretch, grow, and work on things outside of our comfort zone.

And if we're fundraisers, our work is to raise funds. Nothing less.

But knowing our hardwiring can help us strategize and plan our work to play to our strengths. And if you managed others, this might help you figure out why they act differently than you do.


If this hardwiring format inspires you, you’ll love the full-day Quadrant 3 Leadership Intensive on May 23rd. We spend a whole day helping you learn about yourself and craft your work around your strengths. Apply before April 30 to qualify for $700 savings ($297 instead of the normal $997 registration): https://concordleadershipgroup.com/leadership-intensive/

Help your board fundraise for your nonprofit with
this FREE ebook

You'll discover the 21 ways each board member can help their nonprofit's fundraising - even if they don't like to ask for money!

You have Successfully Subscribed!