Acquire vs. Inquire

How do you prepare for donor visits – either virtual or in-person?

What steps do you take to identify the purpose of the visit?  How do you go about establishing specific goals for the visit?  What overall mindset are you bringing to the visit planning process?

The most effective gift officers plan for donor visits using an “inquiring” mindset.  While, in many instances, less effective gifts officers plan for donor visits utilizing an “acquiring” mindset.

Is your planning focused on:

  • the amount of the gift/potential gift?  Or, on what is motiving the donor to make the gift/potential gift?
  • the restriction of the gift/potential gift?  Or, on how the donor envisions their gift meeting the needs of those you serve?
  • getting as quickly as possible to gift closure? Or, on understanding how a life-long partnership may be forged with this donor?

The gift officer who uses the “acquiring” mindset to donor visit planning tends to focus on the first set of questions.  While the gift officer using the “inquiring” mindset tends to ask the latter questions more consistently.

If you want a gift, focusing on the transaction of acquisition might work.  If, however, you want a donor who charitably invests with you and your institution over time, the inquiring mindset will always serve you more fruitfully.

While many new gift officers often struggle with this concept, learning to ask thoughtful questions of donors is far more helpful than learning what needs to be told to donors.


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