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How Being a Fundraising Professional Set Me Up for Dating

This is a wonderful guest post by this month's webinar presenter, Mary Solomons, a DRG Group member- Enjoy!

A year ago I found myself suddenly single. As I dipped my toe back in the dating pool after a 25-year absence I discovered something: my development background made me better equipped to date.

What do we do as donor relations or gift officers? We ask people to talk about themselves. Tell me about your favorite campus memory? What made your hospital stay memorable? I would ask my dates to talk about themselves, I’d use their name, and I’d remember facts from their online dating profile (this is 2016 after all!) and ask related questions. I found I gave very good first date!

One man I met had a passion for antique cars and brewed his own wine. For our second date I took him to the local auto museum followed by a wine tasting—he pronounced it one of the best dates he’d ever had. To me this was a no brainer: I planned a day that was all about him and what he liked. How was this any different than planning a campus visit for a donor? Too bad he turned out to be utterly boring; we never made it to date three.

Can you answer these questions about your top donors?

  • Three adjectives to describe the donor.​

  • What is their passion? ​

  • How do they spend their free time? ​

  • What is their pet peeve? ​

  • What else in the community do they support?

  • Where do they travel? ​

  • What is their fondest memory of your organization? ​

  • Who is their favorite person at your organization? ​ Least?

It goes without saying that this information needs to be saved on your database.

I could draw more corollaries between dating and development work. Let’s start by no rushing things—this isn’t speed dating

For a lasting connection, it’s probably best not to go all the way on the first date. How many prospect visits have been soured by a gift officer making a big ask on the first visit, before getting to know a donor and what makes them tick? A date isn’t a meal ticket, and neither is your donor. Ask them for advice, to become involved, and treat them as if they’re special because they are. I promise you, it will be the start of a beautiful relationship!

Thanks so much to Mary for starting our new year off right! Have you found any correlatives between the two? Let's hear about them!




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