How you present yourself to donors and in the community is important. I’m not talking about your marketing, but I am talking about you. We know that people can judge you in a matter of seconds and make split second decisions about you. Who you are is also a reflection of the organization. Do you go out in the community with a mentality of poverty or abundance? If it’s the former, it won’t work well. I don’t believe that telling a story of lack of support will win donors over. Yes, it works in direct mail, but I am not a fan of it.
More importantly, how you present yourself is critical, especially in the first meeting. As I travel around this country I know that in some places people dress in business attire and in other places they are more business causal and then there is everything in between. One client I remember working with would show up at meetings somewhat disheveled. There is a reason that the book “Dress For Success” did so well. I always tell my clients to put themselves in the shoes of the person they are going to see and try and think like them. For example, if you go to a restaurant whose appearance is outdated and the staff is poorly attired, do you get a feeling that it will be a good experience? There are so many examples. It’s the same in our business. You represent your organization and yourself so make sure you make a great first impression.
You may be surprised at the simplicity of this message, but I am sure you’ve seen it yourself. I know a consulting firm that had to create a manual for its consultants on how to dress and also how to eat properly at business meetings.
Are you presenting the best version of yourself to your donors? Who is the Director of First Impressions (the first person someone sees when they walk in the door) and how are they with making people feel welcomed?
“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness
of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all
part of one another, and all involved in one another.”
– Thomas Merton
Written by: Paul D’Alessandro
Founder and Chairman