[Originally published on advocace.com on June 26, 2017 and repurposed for dickerson-bakker.com.]

We believe the motivation, and main purpose of your in-person meetings should focus on stewardship and ministry – not on trying to extract more money from the major donor. It’s about your stewardship of their relationship with you and your organization, and your desire to minister well to them.

Your ultimate goal should be to help your major donors grow in their trust in God—and their investment into the work your organization accomplishes with the gifts God gives them.

You can ask these 9 questions to provide an opportunity to get to know the major donor more deeply. These questions will also unveil where their heart is in relation to your organization and the impacts they would like to be a part of in your community:

  1. Mr. Johnson, before I jump into the issues before us at (your organization), do you mind if we spend some time discussing a little of your story first?
  2. I absolutely love hearing the stories of how God draws different people to himself. Would you mind sharing a little of how you came to faith in Christ?
  3. What are some of the critical occurrences in your life that led to your current position at (your organization)?
  4. If time were not a factor, what would you like to do for God that your career, your family and everything else gets in the way of?
  5. I can see that your family is very important to you. What are some of the critical parts of your legacy that you’d like to leave for your kids/grand kids?
  6. What is it about the work we do at (your ministry) that lead you to get involved with us in the first place?
  7. When you think about our mission, what are some of the things we do that tend to come to your mind first?
  8. What do you love most about our organization and what would you like to see changed or improved?
  9. Regarding the needs in our community – what are some of the areas you feel most passionate about addressing?

There is a lot of strategic, behind-the-scenes planning that should be automatically taking place as you schedule your in-person, donor meetings. However, before your first call determine:

  • Who will follow up?
  • When will they follow up?
  • How will they follow up?
  • What needs to be accomplished during the next engagement?

A final word of caution: don’t meet with major donors if you’re not prepared and willing to continue growing your relationship with each one. If you lead the donor to put their trust in you, and then you disappear, they may feel abandoned and stop giving.

Want to read more about growing relationships with major donors? Download Advocace’s ebook: Abundant Harvest: Growing Your Major Gifts Program >>