The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave
By Harvey McKinnon
Years from now don’t be surprised if The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave is singled out as a watershed book in the field of fundraising.
People might well point to Harvey McKinnon’s work and say, “That’s when the conversation with our donors changed – literally.” And they’d be right. In what it sets out to do, The 11 Questions is deceptively simple. The author wants merely to prepare you – whether you’re a board member, volunteer, or staff – for the questions you’ll inevitably face from prospective donors, whether spoken or not.
But of course, since a good measure of your fundraising success hinges on the answers you give, things aren’t quite as simple as they seem.
McKinnon has identified 11 core questions, ranging from “Why me?” to “Will my gift make a difference?” to “Will I have a say over how you use my gift?”
And, one thing is certain: McKinnon knows how to instruct. Rather than dryly tell you to “Do this” or “Do that,” the author punctuates his prose with dramatic real-life stories.
And they are highly engaging, each one skillfully selected to drive home a point. You’ll discover, for instance:
- How a volunteer coached by a nationally known consultant secured a gift of $175,000 without ever once asking for the gift.
- How the chair of a YWCA sparked a first-time gift of $100,000 with a single disarming question from her heart.
- How by not underestimating his donor’s ability to give, a development officer at a technical institute turned a $100,000 gift into a $1 million gift.
- How McKinnon himself, when he was a young fundraiser, handled a brusque prospect who fulminated: “Will you leave my office right now if I write a check for $1,000?!”
- How by artful negotiation the head of fundraising for a leading HIV/AIDS organization prevented the rock band Queen from donating a vast sum of money to something entirely needless.
- How with an exquisite 30-minute presentation, and a double-shot of espresso, the Head of Fundraising for Greenpeace International transformed a $1 million gift into a $10 million gift.
The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave registers high on the fundraising Richter Scale. And its impact on how we relate to donors will be felt from Houston to Winnipeg, from Baltimore to Vancouver.
When the dust settles and we’ve absorbed the essence of Harvey McKinnon’s book – we will begin anew, and in earnest, to approach our donors in a way that inspires their generosity and fortifies their commitment to the life-changing work we do.
Jerold Panas, who knows a thing or two about fundraising, calls The 11 Questions “A beautifully polished gem, with real-life stories that unerringly hit their mark.”
"An amazing gem of a book. I've been fundraising for social change projects for nearly forty years, and Harvey outlines every key lesson I've learned, and a wealth of lessons I hadn't thought of. If you want to get involved in your community and help make change, at some point you're going to have to raise money, whether from bake sales, monthly pledges, or major donors. You want to know what makes people respond, but you want to proceed with integrity, not some hit and run sales job. Harvey teaches you how. I wish I had this book twenty years ago, but I'm glad I have it now. In fact, I'm in the middle of fundraising for a major voter engagement project, and found it enormously helpful to overcome my own fears and hesitations as I picked up the phone to call people and ask if they could help. Essential for anyone who ever raises money for a worthy cause."
Paul Rogat Loeb
Author of Soul of a Citizen and
The Impossible Will Take a Little While
"This book is both brilliant and true. It's an incredibly useful way of viewing donors and organizing extremely useful material for any fund-raiser. Everyone in the business of fundraising will benefit from a thoughtful read--or two."
Author of Teach Yourself to Write Irresistible Fund-Raising Letters
“The 11 Questions contains straightforward, practical advice that ALL fundraisers should know. I have encountered these questions throughout my fundraising career and only wish I had Harvey’s insight earlier; it would have made certain situations a lot easier!”
Paulette V. Maehara
President and CEO
Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
“Harvey McKinnon hits a home run here. These penetrating questions are destined to increase your philanthropic impact. Make time to read The 11 Questions.”
William C. McGinly, Ph.D., CAE
President, Chief Executive Officer
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy
“Laced with anecdotes and stories, The 11 Questions is enjoyable and real. This is a must-buy for schools and other organizations desperate to alleviate the anxiety their own volunteers fear when ‘making the ask.’”
Patrick F. Bassett, President
National Association of Independent Schools
“Harvey McKinnon is an outstanding fundraiser. He’s also an exceptionally lucid writer. The 11 Questions combines both talents to offer the kind of distilled wisdom that will enlighten anyone called upon to raise funds.”
Bernard Ross, Director
The Management Centre
“Fortunately for all of us, Harvey McKinnon has identified the core questions and the answers that will satisfy and inspire donors to give more. Pay attention to this book and to your donors, and you’ll raise more money.”
Vice President, Philanthropy & Marketing
The Nature Conservancy of Canada
“I recently read a really great book on how to answer donors' questions. The book is called, The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave. The book is a quick and very insightful read..”
“There are lots of good books out there about fundraising. There a only a few great ones. Harvey McKinnon's latest offering is destined to become one of them.”
Click here to read a review by Texas Non-Profits.