Showing Off Your Non-Profit: A Word About Tours

A donor tour is possibly one of the most exciting parts of fundraising. Tours give you the opportunity to show off your organization and talk to your donors face to face. They provide you the chance to share all your organization’s wonderful stories and provide a context for the work that you do. In a solicitation letter you might have a brief story, or at an event you will often share a few facts about your organization, but in a tour you can explain more in-depth exactly who you are and what you do.

Here are a few things that I do on my tours that might help you as you give tours.

  • Have a key program staff lead the tour or make sure to stop by a number of program staff members desks and ask them to talk about what they do (make sure to let them know you’re coming). This allows the donor to hear a “hands on” tale of what the organization is doing. And who knows their project area better than the staff member in charge of it.
  • Practice your tour. Make sure that you know where you are going to go next and what you are going to say. If this means you walk through a practice run then do it, for me I take a minute at my desk and mentally think about where I’m going to go and what I’m going to say.
  • Schedule enough time and take a deep breath. Pause for a minute as you go through each stage of your tour. I tend to get excited about what I’m talking about and who I’m touring. A deep breath before you get started and as you go can help you to take your time. A donor wants to see the organization unfold before their eyes not have it thrown at them all at once.
  • Let the donor talk. Make sure you are allowing the donor time to ask questions and reflect on what they see. A tour should be an interactive two way dialog.
  • Have a meeting room. Have a place where you can start and end the tour. This allows the donor to take off their coat and set their purse or briefcase down. It gives you a place to give a brief introduction to the organization (make sure your introduction is brief as the donor is there to see the non-profit not just hear about it). After the tour is finished bring them back to the meeting room and ask them their reflections and talk about how you can partner together.
  • Have a “Tour Packet” to give to the donor at the end of the tour. Pull together a recent newsletter, your general agency brochure, and/or your annual report. At the end of your tour take out the packet and give it to them briefly mentioning what is inside. This allows the donor to have some information to take home with them if they want to learn anything more about the organization.

Tag your agency’s twitter handle in a response to @infosmallchange #ascblog and post a pic of your where you tour your donors!

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