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Unwritten Rules of Fundraising

A great conversation was hosted by Chronicle of Philanthropy at noon Eastern Time today.  Gail Perry a fundraising consultant (she tweets as @GailPerrync) and Dan Bruer, a major gifts officer at League of Conservation Voters (email were the featured lead discussants.  Raymund Flandez a staff writer at the Chronicle facilitated the conversation.

Gail and Dan kicked off the discussion asking us for questions and comments on the importance of good manners in the context of the “ask” meeting.  During the hour-long interaction, Raymund posted questions to participants and took polls on various issues around correct behavior when meeting with a donor, or a donor prospect.

Here’s a link to the welcoming page for this event:  I believe access is limited to subscribers, but you could check it out.

Among other things, we discussed if it’s proper both on an etiquette level and an ethical level to have a drink with a meal when meeting a donor, particularly when the purpose is to ask for a gift.  Interesting.

We also discussed “picking up the check.”  The majority on the call seemed to agree that we follow the donor’s lead on this. That if the donor wants to pay for lunch, realizing that development staff generally have an expense account and will charge the cost to the nonprofit we represent.  The donor may not want nonprofit funds to be used this way.  However, staff in the right circumstance can feel comfortable saying, “Thank you so much for your time, but in consideration of all you do for us, please let us pick up this check as a small thank you for your generosity.”

A very good session.  Well done, Gail and Dan!  And, of course, Raymund!

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