Know Yourself, Know Your Donor

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WASHINGTON -- The Stelter Company, a planned giving communications firm, said at the Direct Marketing Association of Washington's annual Bridge Conference on July 13 that meeting your goals can be done by meeting your donor's needs.

The session focused on ways an organization can match its mission with its donor's passion.

"We need to understand ourselves and our communication styles first before looking at the donor," said Suzanne Mineck, planned giving consultant for Stelter, Washington.

Ms. Mineck said that understanding an organization's own behavior makes it more proactive. She described this through Stelter's DISC system.

DISC stands for Discipline, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. It divides individuals into four personality and work style categories.

Those who fall under Discipline are decisive and like to start on projects immediately while those who are Influence like to shape their environment through relationships. Steadiness individuals are patient and not fond of change. Those who are Conscientious are detailed-oriented and introverted.

The key to meeting donor needs is taking time to notice things in their behavior and also in their environment, Ms. Mineck said. She considers the future of fundraising to be individualism and learning to cater to each person's need.

The example of a nonprofit development agent calling another development agent was put forward. Each recipient wanted to be valued as an individual more than anything else.

Once an organization has accessed itself and understood what behavior it exudes, it can glean the attitude of its donors and approach them through their characteristic traits.

"It is encouraging to the donor to talk a lot more than we do," Ms. Mineck said. "And by listening to them our institution will know how to come to them, and that will make the best gift in the end."

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