It is important to keep in mind differing personalities and communication styles when engaging donors. Benefits of understanding these types are establishing rapport and negotiating more successfully. The inborn preferences are broken down into four categories: energy, information, decisions, and structure.
During a session titled “Engaging Leadership Donors with Person Focused Communication” at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ international conference, Bob Fogal and Deene Morris, explained that various personality types are broken down using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.
Energy is broken down into two categories. There is extraversion, where people are more energetic and talkative in a group situation. And, there is introversion, quieter people with limited social energy. When working with an extravert, it is important to engage in their enthusiasm and let them know you are listening with nods and yeses. To influence an introvert, one should allow them time to think before they respond and address them in a calmer manner.
When first taking in new information, sensors seek out specifics and facts and are sequential in conversation. Intuitives need minimal details and focus more on future possibilities. To persuade a sensor, approach them with step-by-step information and focus on the details; for an intuitive, start with the “big picture” and engage their creativity.
In decision-making, “thinkers” step back and try to view the situation objectively, while “feelers” react to the situation with empathy. People with a preference toward thinking go with their heads and people with a preference to feeling go with their hearts.
The last of the four categories, structure is split into judging and perceiving. People with a preference for judging prefer to plan the work and work the plan; action and closure is the ideal. On the other side of the spectrum, people with a preference to perceiving prefer flexible schedules and are more comfortable keeping their options open.
By being aware of the different personalities types one might encounter while engaging potential donors, it becomes more clear which techniques will create the most effective communication and process with different individuals.