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1 + Martha H. Schumacher, ACFRE President, Hazen Inc. AFP-Greater Houston Chapter June 15, 2012 Are You Listening? Improving Your Active Listening Skills with Your Major Donors and Everyone Else

2 + What We ll Be Covering Today What is Active Listening? How is Active Listening Just Like Private Detective Work? 7 Active Listening Tips Active Listening Practice Practice De-brief Time Management: How to Make Time for Active Listening and Save Hundreds of Hours Each Year! Questions & Answers

3 + What is Active Listening? Active listening is an intent to listen for meaning. The listener checks with the speaker to make sure that a statement has been correctly heard and understood. The ultimate goal of active listening is to improve mutual understanding.

4 How is Active Listening Just Like Private Detective Work? Building relationships with your major donors involves private detective work. You must practice active listening to gather quality information. Private detective work takes time. Just like the great philosopher Shrek said about Ogres, people are like onions too.

5 + Active Listening Tip #1: Ask Leading Questions with a Clear Head Turn off your PDA Clear your mind Ask leading questions Listen closely as if your life depended on it Gather details Handout #1 Visit Cheat Sheet

6 + Active Listening Tip #2: Use Best Practice Body Language Remember ROLES: Relax while attending. Attending is the combination of eye contact, posture and gesture. Open your posture Lean towards the sender Eye contact maintained Squarely face the person

7 + Active Listening Tip #3: Paraphrase Re-state what your donor just said, and do so with fewer words. Paraphrasing tests your understanding of what you heard (remember: mutual understanding is your goal). For example, when a major donor makes a gift, use phrases like, When you said your top priority is to support our mission with your liquid assets, I heard that to mean that you want to make cash contributions right now and hold on to your stocks and other investments for later gifts. Is that correct? Paraphrasing also sends a positive message -that you are listening closely and that you understand their needs and intent.

8 + Active Listening Tip #4: Clarify Even smart and focused people wander off topic or make an unclear statement. When you seek clarity, it provides you as the listener with the opportunity to ensure you ve interpreted the information correctly and allows you to gather more information from your donors. Use phrases like Here s my perception of what you were saying or I d like to summarize what you just said: you would like to make a contribution to [your organization], but you are still deciding at what financial level. Did I capture it?

9 + Active Listening Tip #5: Verify Your Perceptions You ve clarified what your donor has told you. Now it s time to go one step further and verify your perceptions. Verifying what you perceive to be their core message enables you to give and receive feedback. Verification also enables you to check out your assumptions. For example: So let s see if I understand what you re saying. You re very interested in making a philanthropic gift at the $100,000 level, but you need to discuss this contribution with your husband before making a commitment. Is that right?

10 + Active Listening Tip #6: Summarize Here s your chance to sum up key ideas and feelings in concise statements. Make sure to avoid adding any new ideas to the conversation. Summarizing moves the discussion forward and sets the stage for future conversations. A summary also provides both of you with a sense of accomplishment, and ties together ideas, facts and feelings.

11 + Active Listening Tip #7: Empathize Note that feelings were mentioned twice under the previous tip. Hearing and understanding your donor s message is essential. But empathizing with her/his feelings is equally important. Empathy means understanding the donor s experience and allowing Empathy means understanding the donor s experience and allowing the person to evaluate his/her feelings as expressed by the listener. You said that you liked the public recognition for your recent gift, but I wonder if you would also like to receive a one-on-one call? Why don t you give me an idea of your schedule over the next week or two so that we can find a time for [your organization s Executive Director] to contact you to thank you personally?

12 + Active Listening Practice You: It s wonderful to see you again. We are so grateful for your years of loyal support of Helping Hands. Ms. Betty Bigbucks: It s wonderful to see you too. But I have to tell you that I m not very happy about how Helping Hands has been treating me. It s really making me wonder whether I should continue giving. You: I m so sorry to hear that! If you ll tell me what happened, I ll make sure we get the problem fixed. Ms. Bigbucks: Well, in just the past three weeks, I ve received two letters in the mail asking for money, plus two phone calls from people I don t even know, who were also asking for money. Considering my level of commitment to Helping Hands, I found this particularly disturbing. You: Again, I am so sorry. I will talk to Steve [dbase manager] today and make sure that doesn t happen again. Ms. Bigbucks: Well that s wonderful and I appreciate it. I ve talked with Steve before and he is a very nice young man. But it really makes me wonder about how Helping Hands is being run, and whether my money is being spent wisely. I want to invest in an organization that is doing good things, not wasting it on letters and phone calls. You know, I give much more to you than to any other organization. You: (1) Make your organizational pitch and explain what happened with the mail and phone and (2) Use active listening to identify what else Ms. Bigbucks is really saying.

13 + Practice De-brief What techniques did you use to address Ms. Bigbucks concerns? How did it feel to play Ms. Bigbuckswhen you switched roles? What was it like living in the donor s shoes? What did you learn about Ms. Bigbucksthat you didn t know before? What does the fact that she shared her concerns with you say about her commitment to Helping Hands?

14 + Time Management Listening closely and understanding what your donors are really saying will build stronger relationships. And those relationships will result in significantly increased engagement and revenue over time for your organization. But active listening should also be used with senior management, program staff and your supervisor. Because the heart of active listening is effective communication. And effective communication with all of these individuals will save you a tremendous amount of time. Working side-by-side with program staff; efficiently educating, engaging and involving board members; effectively communicating with your donors, your supervisor and other senior management -all of these activities will buy you back that precious time you would have spent mending fences and putting out fires due to miscommunications. Like having to write that memo for your supervisor again. So instead of spending all that time on reactive crisis management, you ll be able to focus on what really matters: building relationships with your top donors through pro-active listening! Handout #2 Advancing Philanthropy article

15 + Questions and Answers

16 Martha H. Schumacher, ACFRE, President Hazen, 906 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 200, Washington, DC (office)* (cell) Building Fundraising Relationships That Last

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