In Fundraising, First Impressions Make All the Difference

In Fundraising, First Impressions Make All the Difference 1

Aime Mitchell

Eli Jordfald (right), a fundraiser at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, says small talk can lead to big gifts. Here, Ms. Jordfald chats with Frankie Lee in Ms. Lee’s home.

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close In Fundraising, First Impressions Make All the Difference 1

Aime Mitchell

Eli Jordfald (right), a fundraiser at the University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, says small talk can lead to big gifts. Here, Ms. Jordfald chats with Frankie Lee in Ms. Lee’s home.

Last winter, John Westfall-Kwong identified a potential new megadonor: a man who had previously given large sums to various causes, though never to groups that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. It was not an obvious match, but Mr. Westfall-Kwong, who is director of development for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, did some research and turned up a connection between the prospective donor and one of the organization’s committed volunteers.

Armed with