I have met a lot of extroverted fundraisers; they are people who like to talk and be listened to and can often speak eloquently and persuasively about the causes of their organization. However, I’ve always enjoyed listening more than talking. I have found that many donors want to talk about themselves, why they do or do not give, and what they do.
One of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned is that a person feels a lot more of an affinity with your organization if it feels like they have been able to share about themselves. This has left me with a question inside. Which is a more valuable trait for a development officer to have– to be able to speak with charisma and eloquence. or to ask good questions and be a good listener? We obviously cannot have one without the other. In fact, a good relationship is built on give and take, on two way conversation. It is important to be able to make your case and persuasively tell your organization’s story. But, it is equally as valuable to be able to understand what a donor’s interests truly are and how the organization links to them.
How do you go into a donor visit? Do you go in with questions or with answers and a presentation? I imagine that you probably do both depending on what stage of the solicitation process you are in. I know quite a few outgoing development professionals but not nearly as many introverted ones. What kind of development professional are you? Any introverts out there that share my story?