Etiquette Training

Provide Etiquette Training for Organization’s Ambassadors

Occasionally, we call on select staff members to join us on donor visits to ensure program leaders can share from a stewardship perspective. However, some have not been groomed as ambassadors, and in some areas prove to be socially awkward.Missteps in dining and observing social mores in cultures different from our own can be especially embarrassing. It can be problematic to correct them without offending the staff.

I suggest those in charge of the staff consider a Business Etiquette 101 training, making it available to the entire team who might be called upon to interact with donors. Etiquette expert Jacquelyn Whitmore has written several books addressing such quandaries in an entertaining, enlightening and educating manner. Over the years, I have contracted with her to teach such classes in a continuing education format. Happily, everyone walks away appreciating the experience.

Another alternative is to make a point to get to know your colleagues well enough to determine their level of comfort with donors. Some appreciate a donor visit to their department where they can demonstrate program effectiveness firsthand. Others loathe the three-hour country club lunch.

Allowing all to operate within their comfort zones makes for a far more enjoyable (and effective) experience, and preserves the reputation of the organization as well.