Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

  • Shut Up And Listen

    By The NonProfit Times - October 15, 2015

    Shut Up And Listen
    It’s exhausting but you have to do it

    There are two levels of mind state when connecting with others: subconscious emotional and conscious rational. According to Richard Brown, president of RB Consulting, major gifts officers spend too much time in the latter and not enough in the former.

    “We need to think differently, change our perspectives,” he told an audience during Fundraising Day in New York, convened earlier this year by the New York City chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “We are not selling a product. We are presenting an opportunity for a person to fulfill her desire to advance a cause in a way that’s meaningful to her.”

    Too often, said Brown, fundraisers take their cues from Alec Baldwin’s char­acter Blake in the story Glengarry Glen Ross, who famously exhorts his underlings to “always be closing.” Don’t spend too much time in sales mode, he warned. Common sales talking points include:
    • You’ll be making a difference;
    • We’re addressing a need;
    • You need us;
    • We need you;
    • Return on investment;
    • Your friends and competitors are donating; and,
    • How much growth we’ve experienced.

    It becomes all about the organization. “That’s a part of it. But if that’s all we talk about we’re not going to build the kind of relationships that will result in big gifts,” Brown said.

    Harley-Davidson sells motorcycles, of course, but it’s really selling freedom. There are only the rules of the road when you’re riding. “We as fundraisers have to tap into that deep desire of donors who want to help us,” said Brown. “Sometimes they don’t know how they want to help. We have the capacity to get to that inner emotion, translate it into something they’d support.”

    Donors and prospects develop relationships along two tracks: personal, with an individual fundraiser, and institutional, with the organization, said Brown. It’s a pyramid, beginning with an introduction and moving to interest, then involvement and culminating with a true connection.

    When moving prospects up that relationship pyramid, you’ll need to focus on your attributes. “Attributes are who you are,” said Brown. “Skills are what you can do and experience is what you have done.” Attributes like personable, professional, honest and confident add up to character and integrity. “This is the foremost thing in terms of building a relationship,” said Brown.

    There’s one attribute above all that fundraisers must cultivate, and that is being a good listener. It’s not difficult, in theory. Just keep your mouth shut and your ears open. It does take work, though. That’s why Brown recommended never scheduling more than three meetings a day. “By the time we get to that fourth meeting, we stop being a good listener. We’re too exhausted.”

    People like to talk about themselves. By listening, you allow them to do so. Introverts have an advantage here. Extroverts might be the life of the gala, but introverts are introspective and often more interested in listening than speaking.

    The key is to be genuine. “Don’t just act interested,” said Brown. “If you’re more interested in what you have to say, this is probably not the business for you.”  NPT

    Richard Levey is a New York City-based freelance business and marketing writer who frequently contributes to The NonProfit Times.

    You may also like:

Podcast_forHub_500x500

Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.


Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!

Newsletters

Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

Blog Posts Archive


NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up



click here to return to the previous page