I'm so glad you asked

A Camp Director and I sat down together recently to plan meetings with top donors.
I was coaching this Camp Director to think of some good opened-ended questions to ask his best donors. Here are the questions he came up with: 
  1. We know there are many organizations worthy of your philanthropic support. Why do you choose to support us? What is it about our mission that speaks to you personally and emotionally?
  2. Can you describe a time when a gift that you made to this camp (or any other organization for that matter) gave you true joy? What was it about this gift that brought you happiness and satisfaction?
  3. What do we need to improve upon from the donor-relations side of our organization? Have there been times when you felt frustrated in your dealings with this organization? If so, what could we have done to improve your experience?
  4. When you think about the future of this camp, what specifically excites you the most? Is there a dream, a building, a program that would make you particularly excited?
He set up individual meetings with each of his best donors and asked these four questions. Over the course of a few months he had met with all of his top donors, and do you know what they all said?
“I’m so glad you asked!”
Looking for more open-ended questions to engage your camp donors? Here are 20 questions focused mostly on their experience and thoughts about camp. And here is a larger list of more general nonprofit questions that you may find helpful.
Bottom Line:  Ask your best donors about their experiences as donors, both good and bad, and listen to their answers. People appreciate being asked, and you’ll learn a lot.
Written by Julia Riseman. Julia is a Mentor with JCamp 180. Julia leads Data2Donors, a program to advance Alumni Outreach, improve camp databases, and raise more major gifts, and Fundraising Fundamentals. Julia has also sparked the creation of many JCamp 180 programs and offerings, including this blog.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at