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Monday, May 22, 2017

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Etiquette For Success
Jacqueline Beretta

August, 2004

While sitting behind your desk planning your next big fundraising effort, you begin to reflect on the campaign that you conducted six months ago. Looking over notes and figures, you're reminded that you did not achieve the results you originally anticipated. What could have been the problem? You asked all the right people, didn't you? You were well prepared with the latest information and accomplishments of your organization, weren't you? Hmm… was it those old blue jeans you wore to a meeting with a donor? Or could it have been the fact that you never seemed to get to an appointment on time? No, wait … I know … six months have gone by, and you still have not sent out thank-you notes!

Often, we focus all of our energy on the people we intend to ask for donations and the message we want to get across without realizing the importance of our personal appearance and behavior. Whether running day-to-day operations or organizing major events, it is vital for nonprofit organizations to keep in mind simple rules of etiquette. As with any business, manners are an essential part of successful operations. By training your board and staff on the importance of appropriate behavior, you enable them to create a favorable first impression on possible donors and business contacts.

Not only is it important to keep in mind proper etiquette when seeking funds but also when carrying on day-to-day operations. By being polite to staff and board members as well as those you encounter over the phone or in person, you build a positive reputation for the organization.

In seeking funds through a personal meeting one should:

  • Send an introductory note letting the donor know who you are and your interest in setting up a meeting.
  • Call to schedule the appointment. While speaking with the prospect, indicate the length of time you intend the visit to last. This allows the potential donor to block out that time frame without distraction.
  • Request directions from the secretary to ensure you know exactly where you are going.
  • Be punctual. Allow extra time to get to the meeting in the event of unforeseen difficulties with traffic or parking.
  • Be presentable. Dress and grooming are important. Remember that you are the only representation of your organization that this potential donor may be meeting with. Make your first impression a lasting one.
  • When arriving for a meeting, present a business card to the prospect allowing them to have a visual reminder of who you are and the organization you are with.
  • If you plan to present printed materials, mention that to the individual at the onset, but hand the material out afterward. This allows the contributor to focus on the content of your message while you are delivering it.




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