Top Nine Questions to Ask a Donor

Published on November 3, 2019

Brian Saber

President of Asking Matters
author-in author-twitter

Share this post

Are these the absolute top nine? Who knows! But I love these questions. They’re so revealing. And they’re not rhetorical. They signal your desire to know what your donors feel and think. Never forget the more inquisitive you are, the more engaged your donors will feel. We often talk about how to get your donors to do most of the talking (50% at a minimum). Well, the way to do it is to ask questions like the ones below. Questions that lead to rich answers… and more questions.

About the Cause

The more we get our donors to talk about our organization, the more they’ll convince themselves of our value. We can talk until we’re blue in the face, and chances are they’ll only hear a bit of what we say. We might even create that awful “wall of words” where our donors can’t hear anything because we’ve bludgeoned them with talk.

  1. What do you think about what we’re trying to address?
  2. If someone asked you about us, what would you say?
  3. What would you like to know about us?

About Our Relationship

Fundraising is about relationships, so it’s important to check in to be sure the relationship is strong. When donors have a strong relationship with us, they’re less likely to stop funding us. It’s easy for donors to say “no” to someone or some cause they don’t know personally. It’s much harder if you have a rapport.

  1. How would you like to be involved and/or kept up to date?
  2. Do you feel appreciated by us and, if not, what can we do to show how important your support is to us?

About Their Philanthropy

Why guess? The more we learn about their charitable side, the more we can figure out how to dovetail with it. In a relationship we have to understand what makes each other tick. The same is true here.

  1. What are your charitable goals (and how do we align with them)?
  2. How do you figure out which causes to support?
  3. How does your support of us tie in with your personal philosophy?
  4. What’s the most meaningful charitable gift you’ve ever made and what made it so?


Those are my top nine questions, what’s your favorite question? I’d love to know.


Subscribe to our newsletter!

join our mailing list for fundraising tips, upcoming events, and more!

subscribe now

join our mailing list for fundraising tips, upcoming events, and more!