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20 Questions to Get Better Donor Relationships and Be a Better Leader

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How to be a better leader, AND get better donor relationships?

It’s all about the questions.

Recently I was chiding a friend of mine for not asking better questions. THEN I realized that I had been ashamed myself, for not asking better questions, for literally years. I had a friend who was a master question asker. He always did it in a way that helped you understand what your problem was, without shoving it in your face. His questions… asked gently… helped you come to your own conclusions. I was truly grateful to him every time he asked me these questions. He spoiled me for other question askers who asked nothing deeper than “how is your day going today?” or “can I get you a glass of water?” Oh man. Questions are everything.

WHY are questions so important?

People crave to be known, to be seen for their striving. It’s a basic human need that doesn’t often get acknowledged. That business leader on your gala committee might be wondering, “Does anyone see how hard I work? Does anyone care?”

Asking good followup questions show that you’re listening and that you truly care. Asking about people’s deeper motivations can allow you to see what their values are. Better questions help you determine if you want to take that next step with them, and offer them the opportunity to be your major donor.

When you ask good questions, they can take your relationship from a handshake to a hug. And incredible questions can take your $50 donor to a $5,000 donor.

What are some good questions you can ask right now, of donors and staff, to be a better leader? READ ON!

These two lists I’m about to share with you are not exhaustive lists, if you have better questions you want to ask people, PLEASE leave them in the comments.

Mazarine’s magical list of questions to help you get the deeper donor relationships you crave:

  1.  Tell me about how you grew up. What are some of your first memories?
  2.  Who had a deep impact on you personally or professionally?
  3.  Who is one of your heroes, and why?
  4.  You’re here for a reason. Would you mind telling me how you first got started with our cause?
  5.  How do you like to be involved with nonprofits? Could you tell me about a time that a nonprofit asked you for involvement and really flubbed it?
  6. What makes a nonprofit trustworthy in your eyes?
  7.  Do you feel in the loop about what’s really going on at our nonprofit? If not, what could we do better?
  8.  What’s a song you habitually hear us sing? Is it a boring song? Would you like to hear us sing a different song? (that means, perhaps you talk too much about your scholarship program. Or the message is always that you need money, but they don’t know where the money is going). This is a way to find out what messages resonate with your donor.   
  9. What do you wish more people knew about you?
  10. Is there a question you wish people would ask you?
  11. What are some of your hopes for our world right now? Do you feel like our mission gives you hope? If so, how?

But good questions aren’t just for donors.

We need to ask good questions of our staff as well.

WHY do we need to ask staff good questions?

When we take that step of asking good questions of our staff, they will make leaps and bounds in their motivation, in their excitement about coming to work each day, and be even more engaged in the jobs they love to do.

To find out what people’s strengths are, learn more about the Strengths in fundraising, here or in the Go Discover Your Strengths book by Marcus Buckingham. Learning your strengths are a really good start to get clear on how to develop better relationships with your team. But if you’re impatient and want to start now, these questions below are a good first step.

Mazarine’s magical list of questions to help you develop better staff rapport:

  1.  Where would you really like to be in 5 years, and how would you like help in getting there?
  2.  What’s one situation you had in a previous job that you’re worried will happen in this job?
  3.  What could we do to prevent that situation?
  4.  What are your favorite tasks at work? How can we help you do more of these?
  5.  What are the tasks you’d rather not do? How can we help you pass these off?
  6.  When you communicate with me, what’s your favorite method? Phone, in person, text?
  7.  What do you think are some good metrics for your job that we should be tracking?
  8.  What could I do better as a leader? As a manager?
  9.  Do you ever see me saying one thing but doing another thing? If so, how can I be more consistent?
  10. What can I do to build trust with you? Learn more about the secret thing that’s holding you back in this webinar recording with Bloomerang

If you are hungry for more than just questions, I’d love to help you get better staff rapport and raise more than ever before! Get coached to help your team perform better or learn about the Entrepreneurial Nonprofit.

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