What’s this? How can an interview help with fundraising?

Here are 3 ways to start with:

1 – Your staff “in the field” is too busy to write up stories and send to you for your website, email and direct mail appeals.  Instead, interview your staff to get the inspirational stories people respond to with donations.

2 – Interview beneficiaries of your mission.  Get the motivating stories directly from the source.  These are powerful and on target because donors want to know how they help make a difference.  Who are they helping and how is their [the mission beneficiary] life better because of the help received from your charity?

3 – Interview donors.  Then use their words to create donor-centric communications with other donors and prospects.

Before you leap into a round of interviews know this: Interviews aren’t as easy as most people think.  Interviews require preparation, thought, and planning before a single question is asked.

I don’t say this to discourage you!  I simply want you to proceed wisely because a correctly executed interview yields great fundraising stories.  It’s worth the effort.

To help you get those great stories, in a previous post I described in some detail the 5 steps to prepare for a fundraising interview.  Here they are in a nutshell:

1 – Understand the subject matter
2 – Determine the objective
3 – Write the questions
4 – Select the best candidates to interview (and add more questions based on the selections)
5 – Handle the logistics

Also think of an interview as an exchange of information between two parties.  The interviewee (i.e., person being interviewed such as a donor), gives information through their answers.  And the interviewer gets information through questions.

Donor Profiles & Interviews GuideThis may sound elementary.  Nonetheless the vast majority of people won’t naturally give the answers you need without a lot of encouragement from you – the interviewer.  This is where much of the skill comes into play . . . dragging or drawing out the really good stuff for your stories.

Here’s another resource to help you with interviews: Donor Interviews – What to ask and How to ask it.  I believe you’ll find it a very useful fundraising tool that includes dozens of possible questions to ask.

What else would you like to know about interviews?  What’s your biggest stumbling block?  How else can I help you get great fundraising stories via interviews?

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November 17, 2010 at 11:37 am
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