Here is the most important question a development officer can ask himself:
“Am I more focused on how I look or on what I see?”
How I look vs. What I see. Where is your focus? On your own presentation or on the prospective donor?
When you are more concerned with “how you look,” you’ll spend too much time getting your case statement “perfect” before going on that visit. If you care more about “how you look,” you’ll be more apt to talk too much during a discovery visit. And you’ll be less likely to listen well. You’ll ask too early and for the wrong reasons. And you’ll be frustrated more easily when your results suffer.
However, if your primary focus is on “what you see,” you’ll approach donors and prospects with an openness and a curiosity about what makes them tick. You’ll ask better questions. And you’ll listen to comprehend, not to respond. You’ll be viewed as “authentic,” you’ll understand more, and you’ll develop trust with prospects more quickly.
A focus on you – your institution, your campaign, your goals, your talking points – is, at best, a moderating variable and rarely an explanatory variable when analyzing why donors give. But a focus on “what you see” is a fundamental key to advancement success.
A gift has never been lost because the donor felt valued.