12 Fundraising Questions Major and Planned Gift Officers Should Be Asking

QUESTIONS MAJOR AND PLANNED GIFT OFFICERS SHOULD BE ASKING Everyone says the number one reason why people give is because they were asked.
I think this axiom might need a bit of a tweak as follows:
The number one reason why people give is because they were asked questions about themselves before they were asked to give. Tweet this!
The best fundraisers know that you can’t ask for money until you’ve aligned with the donor’s personal mission. Tweet this! So I thought I’d put together some insightful questions you might want to ask before you ask for a check.
1. What values are most important to you?
2. Who inspired you in your life, your work and your philanthropy?
3. Where do you want to see the most change made in the world?
4. How do you want to be remembered?
5. Would you be interested in learning more about how I can help you  to be remembered in that way?
6. Have you figured out how much is enough to leave to heirs?
7. Are your heirs aware of your philanthropic interests and how you want to be remembered?
8. Would you mind sharing with me your most satisfying philanthropic gift and why it made you feel so good?
9. Which nonprofit does the best job of keeping you involved in its mission and satisfied?
10. How would you like me to report back to you the impact of your gift?
11. How would you like me to invite you to make a donation?
12. When is the best (or worst) time of year to engage with you about your philanthropic interests?
Do you have some great questions that are missing? Let me know what they are!
Donor Offers


>> 12 Questions that Lead to a Better Fundraising Story


Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

Thank you for these insightful questions! I have been working on developing a list of questions like these aimed at discovering one’s true heart in order to help the donor realize his goals and aspirations. Here are some that I’ve listed:
Why do you think God has blessed you the way He has?
What kind of legacy would you like to leave?
What are the values you would like to pass along to your children?
How would you like to be remembered after this life is past?
What do you want your life to stand for?
What are you doing now to carry out your values?
What gives meaning and purpose to your life?
What do you do with your money that gives you the greatest sense of joy and satisfaction?
How much is enough?
What regrets do you want to avoid at the end of your life?
How did you learn to give? Who taught you?
With whom have you had conversations about giving?
Do you believe giving to family and to charity have to be trade-offs?
What are your thoughts about inspiring generosity in future generations?
How do you engage others in giving?
Describe your thoughts and feelings about giving.
What motivates your giving?
What do you hope the legacy you leave will do for this person [heir]? Consider lifestyle, life-shaping experiences. Dream big. It’s not about the money. It’s about the impact.
Tell me your family story—high points and low points, values, life experiences, heritage. How do you want to further these?
What kind of impact/outward reach would you like to have? How would you like to change your community, your world? Reflect on what your time on earth means/will have meant.
Business – What is the purpose, story, values of your business that you would like to continue?

Jim Weber
Jim Weber
8 years ago

Great article Greg and like Scott’s list too. One question I think is paramount for any donor is What interests you about the work (insert charity here) does? I find knowing the donors particular “likes” about the various services a charity does allows you ro market meaningfully to that donor. It’s not about what we do it’s about why they like what we do. I find this question correctly answered generate major gifts in half the time. Thanks! Jim Weber Fundraising Fixers Australia.

8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Weber

Indeed Jim. Alignment is the key!

Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!