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Better Get to Know Your Prospect: 16 Questions

Experienced fundraisers seem to have a knack for drawing out the formative influences and moments of insight that have shaped a donor’s worldview. We’ve collected our favorite examples here. What would you add? Email us at info@lipmanhearne.com.

  1. What was your early career like? Are there specific turning-point decisions you find yourself reflecting on regularly?
  2. What are some game-changing breakthroughs you’ve witnessed in your lifetime? Who or what do you think made those things possible?
  3. What would you tell people is the most challenging aspect of giving—in general, and in your specific areas of interest?
  4. What were your early years like? What lessons from your parents and other early mentors have stayed with you?
  5. In your experiences giving and volunteering, what has surprised you most?
  6. Do you have a favorite recipient or program you’ve supported? What about it was most meaningful?
  7. What would you say are the most important people or opportunities that influenced your life so far?
  8. What were some lessons you learned early on in your philanthropic work? What did it take to get to those insights?
  9. How do you stay up to date about the field? What sources do you find helpful?
  10. Who is doing work in this area that interests you?
  11. If you could spend an hour with any philanthropist or sector leader, whom would you choose? What would you ask?
  12. What have you found to be an effective decision-making process in your professional life?
  13. What does success look like to you, thinking ahead to a year from now? What about within a decade?
  14. What “unsolvable” problem do you expect to see solved within your lifetime?
  15. When was the last time you were truly surprised (or delighted)? Tell me about that.
  16. How do you know when an investment has been a success? What are some early signs?
Call Peter Barber for questions on your philanthropy project +1‑312‑809‑0062