A pre-campaign planning study provides an opportunity for your organization to have a meaningful face-to-face exchange with affluent and influential people, through an experienced fundraising consultant. You will not only present your agenda, but learn about theirs— their values, preferences, priorities, and proclivities.
The planning study is based on a standard questionnaire, so it looks deceptively like a survey. In practice, however, the questionnaire functions as a discussion outline, and the role of the study director involves much far than passively recording responses.
Every interviewee has something important to tell us. To find out what that is, the experienced study director works to create a conversation — a dialogue. Every interview, therefore, unfolds
differently. The study director acts as the organization’s advocate, rather than a salesperson; their purpose is to inform, inquire, listen, learn, and reflect.
With each interview, the study director learns more, gaining a keener appreciation of each individual’s potential role in the proposed campaign, and will begin to identify patterns of influence (or networks) that might be utilized.
An experienced study director, like a campaign director, is always looking for a connection – an opportunity to make something happen.
Going into the interview, the interviewer is thinking, “Who exactly is this person? What can he/she tell me that nobody else can? What do I need to find out about this individual? Where could he/she fit into a strategy for a successful campaign? What connection(s) could this person help us to make? Could I begin to facilitate some of that right now?”
As the interview winds down, the study director is thinking, “Is this conversation really finished? Should I follow up by phone, or try to schedule a second meeting? Are there questions I need to get the answers to, or more information I need to provide?”
An experienced professional has the experience, expertise and “sixth sense” to think and respond in this way. He/she knows how to ask, listen, read the signals, and interpret the results. That involves much more than simply taking the temperature of the interviewees. The interview process is dynamic. Acting as an advocate for your organization and a confidant of the interviewee, experienced fundraising counsel will begin to see what needs to be done, and be positioned to initiate the first steps in that direction.
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