Trust is the word of the day.  It is the fundraiser’s most important attribute. Trust is critical in every juncture in a relationship with a donor.

138 Winter QuartersTrust comes into play when a donor is considering:

  • whether to welcome you to her home when you call to ask for an appointment
  • how much to reveal about the complexity of her family tree and the money that grows on different branches
  • how much to show you her excitement about your organization’s work
  • how to respond to a solicitation
  • when she is deciding what names to give you when asked for other prospective donors

In other words, every time you turn around, the donor determines how much room you have to maneuver based on how much she trusts you.

If you attend first to being worthy of a donor’s trust, everything else will be a lot easier.

The Importance of Being Flummoxed – When the Road of Cultivation is Blocked

There are times in your cultivation journey, my friend, when you will run into a brick wall.  When you get mixed signals from the prospective donor, or no signals.  When the prospect is not telling you to go away, but not inviting you closer, either.  It might be tempting to second guess every contact you have had.  It might be tempting to delete the prospect from your list.  I recommend a third alternative, which is to park the prospect with a “flummoxed” label, which is number seven of the six stages of cultivation.

Keep in mind that the universe is fluid.  Maybe there is someone in your network that is in the prospect’s network, but you don’t know it yet.  Maybe an event in the prospect’s life will suddenly make your organization more attractive.  Maybe an event in the organization’s life will give you a new reason for reaching out.

Flummoxed is not a comfortable state of mind, but if you can tolerate it, an exit will often present itself.