Get out of my dreams, Get into my car
These are the lyrics I kept hearing when Brie Seward, Executive Director of the Autism Society of Southern Arizona told me about her recent experience with one of her donors. I also have to admit that I love it when a post comes together so easily based on a live experience of one of my amazing clients.
I'll back up for a second to provide some context. As I noted, Brie leads the team of a terrific nonprofit. We've been discussing a few strategies for building out her organization's fundraising. We had been talking about how to really connect with her donors and in particular two critical meetings with long time donors she had coming up. She wanted to help these donors see they that meant more to her than simply dollars in the door. In fact, we had been discussing opportunities to connect through questions, alignment and most important, true and authentic listening. An occasional surprise or two doesn't hurt either (can you hear the foreshadowing???)
I was excited when Brie let me know that she had some great news to share on our next call. She said the meetings were financially successful and were the best she'd ever had. She mentioned she'd done a lot more listening than talking. She asked questions. She learned more about their business. She learned what was important to them as both sponsors of the Autism Society as well as growing organizations. Brie also mentioned that given that their meetings were virtual, she wanted to do something a little special.
When Brie's meeting started, her donor heard a knock on the door. His assistant then brought in a tray of cookies. Brie shared that since they'd typically met and had coffee or snacks together for their meetings, she wanted to create the same experience. So, she simply ordered up the tray and had it timed for their meeting. Expensive. Nope! But thoughtful as anything. You know it. And her donor absolutely loved it.
As Brie and I discussed her success, it was clear the need to get into her donor's world had connected in a very real way. She articulated it better than I ever could "You have to Get Out of Your Computer and Into their World." Immediately Billy Ocean's song popped into my head.
Besides my strange addiction to including aging pop songs in my posts, I really do believe that Brie's experience is one we can learn from. It's the simple idea of wowing our donors - or clients - depending on who you work with. It doesn't have to be pricey. And no, you're not buying their business. You're simply showing that you care, value the relationship and want to do something a little extra special.
So, in this age of virtual meetings, I'll leave you with Brie's question: How are you getting out of your computer and into your client's world?