18 tips for that first date

Creating and sustaining a relationship with a major donor takes a great deal of time and effort. It starts, surprisingly enough, at the beginning.

Preparation is important, but it’s also important to do the right kind of preparation. During Fundraising Day in New York 2013, Rich Brown of the George H. Heyman Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at New York University offered tips on the type of preparation necessary for the first meeting with a potential major donor.

First, know as much as possible about the other party:

  • What is the person’s profession or background?
  • Where did (s)he go to school?
  • Where does (s)he live?
  • Are there current events affecting the person’s industry or company?
  • Does this person serve on other boards?
  • Does (s)he have any hobbies.
  • What is the gift history to the organization?

Then, be prepared to discuss these questions about the organization:

  • What is the organization’s history?
  • How big is the organization?
  • How is it structured?
  • What are the main sources of revenue?
  • What are the main expense lines?
  • What is the organization’s efficiency?
  • What are the organization’s programs?
  • Who comprises the organization’s leadership?
  • What is the organization’s vision for the next five years?
  • What is the organization’s place in the nonprofit sector?