Neil Strauss is not a fund raiser, but he knows a lot about human relationships and motivation.
Mr. Strauss, the author of The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, spent years testing and perfecting the techniques men use to meet and attract women. One of the most effective techniques could also be useful to fund raisers, he said at the annual NextGen: Charity conference, in New York.
“The best way to sell yourself is to have somebody else selling themselves to you,” he says.
Instead of telling donors why they should give to your organization, Mr. Stauss says, ask them to explain why they would be good donors. When donors articulate why they would want to support your organization, they will convince themselves to give.
“Sometimes you almost have to talk people into doing what they already want to do,” Mr. Strauss says. “There’s no one who doesn’t want to give back.”
After donors make their gifts, it’s important to thank them, Mr. Strauss says. In donor relationships, like romantic relationships, one bad experience can sour a person on a whole group of people or organizations.
If you don’t thank your donors, or if you don’t get them involved once they make a gift, they may be less likely to support other charities, he says. Call it the all-charities-are-only-after-one-thing effect.
“My message to charities is don’t ruin it for the rest of the charities,” Mr. Strauss says.