Communicate Better with Donors

Do you know the Gestalt of Fundraising?

I was so curious about the title of this workshop, the Gestalt of Fundraising. It’s mainly about how people behave in the donor/solicitor relationship.

We learned about different kinds of people you might see in a major gift visit, specifically strategic versus relational/intimate people. This was really interesting. I have never heard of approaching major donors this way.

Understanding Personality Types and Donor Relationships

For example, apparently people operate in two primary modes, strategic and relational or intimate.

Strategic people:

  • Goal and task attainment oriented
  • Having your view prevail, without mutuality
  • Use of hierarchical differences
  • You need to be judgmental and evaluate others, to pick up cues and react to someone else.

Relational People:

  • Enhance connectedness with another person
  • Make contact and building relationships for their own sake
  • A sense of mutuality
  • Minimal fixed hierarchy

You might go into a donor meeting and not know if the person is going to try to get to know you, or if they just want to get the meeting done. And you should know yourself, as well, and figure out what your most dominant aspect is, and try to get out of “the hula hoop” of your comfort zone sometimes.

A way to discover which kind of person you’re dealing with is, for example, ask: How much time do you have?

If they say, “I can give you 10 minutes” then you know you’re dealing with a strategic person.

If they say, “I have plenty of time” then probably you’re dealing with an intimate person.

What about you? Have you noticed different ways people interact when they go out to solicit donors for money?

Are you at the conference? What did YOU get out of this workshop?

This article was written for DonorPerfect by Mazarine Treyz, consultant at, author of The Wild Woman’s Guide to Fundraising.


Sep 20 11
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