All About Relationships

People want different things. I am often surprised how different a conversation can be between someone I know and/or like and a stranger or someone I dislike. We all have those friends who get away with everything or those friends we will do anything for just because of who they are; development is all about relationships.

Meeting new people and making new relationships is a challenge for every organization. You often have to start from the very beginning justifying the work that you do and why it needs support. You have to figure out what resonates with an individual or group and build a case to them as to what kinds of projects would interest them philanthropically. Everyone has heard the statistics about how much easier it is to retain a donor instead of find a new one.

When I first started doing development work I thought people responded to the best proposal and to proving that your organization really has it all together and is a good steward of your money. I still think those values are very important but they often come as assumptions. The most valuable technique I have ever found is to become friends with my supporters.

If you have an opportunity to sit in front of someone and have a 30 minute conversation, their willingness to make a contribution is exponentially increased. People are way more open to being asked for anything if you spend even just a little bit of time getting to know them.

How highly are you prioritizing building relationships?  What’s working for you?  Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog


2 Responses to All About Relationships

  1. Jason:
    You certainly hit the nail on the head. Even if your grant is not accepted, the fact that you met in person and started a relationship means the door is open. Just like Oscar in my book, “Let’s Have Lunch Together.” He lost a big grant because he did not know his funders, but he continued to meet them., built up trust and slowly got to know them. Finally, he engaged them and received much more than the original amount.

    One more thing – the goal is not always to make a friend, but always to establish a connection and build trust.

  2. I agree with both of you – it is all about relationships. We all want to do business / work with / support people we know, like and trust.
    Relationships can take time to build, but there is no better investment than getting to know people.

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