Acoustic Fundraisers – Five Tips to Great Field Research

January 12, 2012 at 9:50 am Leave a comment

Krista Tippet and her radio program On Being always inspires me. Her program On Whale Songs and Elephant Loves with Katy Payne, Acoustic Biologist and founder of the Elephant Listening Project made me think about how fundraisers learn about prospects and donors. Katy discovered how whales and later elephants communicate. As I walked the dog and listened, I thought about how we fundraisers are acoustic biologists.

Well maybe not acoustic biologists, but we have to be good listeners, watch for signals and observe everything. So maybe a better term might be philanthropic sociologists.  If we are really good at what we do – our prospects and donors don’t know we are studying them – just like the whales and elephants (who never forget)!

Tony Elischer has a great line, “You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth. Use them in proportion when meeting with a donor.” He is so right. A good scientist spends more time observing, listening and studying than talking about their work. When the prospect or donor does most of the talking – we learn so much!

Five tips to great listening:

  1. Ask/Learn about their interests, work, family, travel – before and during the meeting.
  2. Have questions in your mind that engage. Questions don’t have to be about your organization or giving. Use the room, weather, time of year to start the conversation. Think about what you want to learn.
  3. Observe the surroundings for photos, interests, art and ask about them.
  4. How and what questions are more engaging than asking why.
  5. Make eye contact. Avoid PowerPoint and lots of paperwork or materials.

Everyone has their own style. And that is key to engaging people – finding your style, morphing to fit the situation and learning about the other person. Your sincerity will come through.

Entry filed under: Fundraising, Nonprofit fundraising. Tags: , , , , , .

Having Enough Infogram Organigrams – Visual Data for Storytelling

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Barbara’s Twitter Feed

Mid-life Minimalist

Mid-life Minimalist: Journey towards a more meaningful life

Annual Fund Lab

Sparking Ideas; Generating Conversation

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

SSIR Articles

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

Mary Lee Walker - Nonprofit Gladiator

Applying sound business principles as nonprofit best practices

National Committee For Responsive Philanthropy

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

The Fundraising Authority

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

Seth's Blog

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

Veritus Group

Building Authentic Donor Relationships

Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

Wild Woman Fundraising

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

Future Fundraising Now

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

The Agitator

Philanthropy - Fundraising - Nonprofit Management

Beyond Melbourne

Food Travel Markets Artists

%d bloggers like this: