3 Surefire Ways to Immediately Build Rapport with Any Donor

At my son’s 5th birthday party one little guy sat on the sidelines, refused to eat cake and cried when he had to part with his gift. It reminded me that not everyone clicks with others right away. Donor relationships are no exception.

We all know that building rapport is key to securing gifts, but donors can stump us sometimes. I’ve learned an amazing system to quickly identify four, basic personality types and immediately build trust. It works on five-year-olds and it can work with your donors, too.

Here’s a look at the Big Four personalities, along with three ideas on how to quickly make a connection with each.

The Dominant Type


These are people who know what they want and go for it. They tend to make decisions quickly and prefer opportunities for personal advancement and accomplishment. Here’s how to get along:

  1. Spend less time on social questions.
  2. Don’t dictate the purpose of your conversation. Get their reaction first.
  3. Confront obstacles directly.

The Influencer Type


These folks never met a stranger and make new friends easily. They’re enthusiastic, talkative and entertaining. Influencers like to be recognized by others and will appreciate you most if you:

  1. Act warm and friendly. Spend a little extra time on social conversation.
  2. Be specific about the time frame you’ve planned.
  3. Obtain agreement on the purpose of the conversation, but don’t be too task oriented.

The Steady Type


This type of person is predictable and low-key. In groups, they’d rather listen and chime in occasionally rather than lead or direct the conversation. They prefer known procedures and the stability gained from a defined, proven way of doing things. Here’s how to work best with this easy-going type:

  1. Ask about family and long-term relationships.
  2. State the purpose of your visit and get a reaction.
  3. Be very gentle and nurturing when confronting issues.

The Conscientious Type


Caution drives this personality. Doing things correctly and avoiding mistakes is the primary goal. They like assurances that agreed-upon standards or objectives will not be changed or sacrificed. You’ll gain trust with this type of person if you:

  1. Limit social chitchat and stay away from too many personal questions.
  2. Agree to the purpose of the visit early.
  3. Be sequential and task-oriented.

Learning how to communicate with donors in ways that work for them, is a critical step in closing more gifts, more often. Above are just a few of the relationship-building techniques you might try. Do you have others to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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