Building trust is simply building a relationship that is founded on honesty and sincerity as well as transparency.
Small measures over time reveal who you are, and build a trust that encourages the interaction of the donor.
These are some tried and true ways to build trust:
Listen. Engage the donor in conversation that helps you place the donor in the organization’s plan. Ask questions that help determine their interest in your mission, as well as in their personal interests. Learn their likes and dislikes, and their reasons for giving — what motivates their philanthropy? Understand the concepts that are important to them and in what order they fall: integrity, character, outcomes, populations served, a bigger plan.
Break bread together. Sharing a meal is always helpful in building relationships. Food chat often reveals childhood stories, family histories and more. The mutual exchange of backgrounds is incredibly bonding — and fascinating. You’ll learn more over a chicken salad sandwich than you can in an interview.
Experiencing the mission firsthand. Invite the donor to see, feel, touch, and experience the “product.” It is vital in understanding the mission, its outcomes and vision for the future. Seeing this in a positive, organized, and energetic environment is key. Planning is crucial here.
Enlisting others. There is nothing as powerful as a “peer-to-peer” appeal. When a highly respected donor gives his or her stamp of approval to the organization, it carries tremendous weight. Ensure the donor meets key board members and other supporters who can project how vital the mission work is.
In all ways, be sincere and show your own commitment to the organization. Be ready to be the best and truest representative for the cause.
Ben’s Takeaway: “Donors and dogs are pretty good judges of character — show them your heart.”