6. Understanding your donor’s perspectives, unspoken concerns and questions



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About this episode

We are delighted to have none-other than Harvey McKinnon join us today on The Intentional Fundraiser Podcast. 

I invited Harvey to the show, because he’s one of North America’s leading fundraising experts, a prolific author, and an international keynote speaker. And to help us all better understand your donor’s perspectives, and unspoken concerns and questions. 

Harvey loves sharing his passion and expertise with fundraising pros just like you. He’s smart. He’s funny. And while you won’t see it on this podcast, he’s a really good dancer!


Our guest

Harvey McKinnon, President, Harvey McKinnon Associates


"I think trust is absolutely key. And you build trust through having integrity. And demonstrating and listening to them as well. That builds trust because they think this is a person who hears what I'm saying."  

- Harvey McKinnon, President, Harvey McKinnon Associates


A quick peek

Harvey McKinnon (00:06:12):

Well, our mutual friend, Ken Burnett, the godfather as you call him, of fundraising, I think great-godfather is more appropriate. But he had a great line many years ago, which was, "We're not in any business other than the inspiration business." And I think that's true, because if you've ever been approached by anybody who's trying to start something or raise money for a cause, if they are lifeless and they just don't have energy, you're not going to buy into it. Where I've seen people who are just so passionate about us, it's contagious, it's inspiring. So I've always found that that makes a difference. People want to be inspired. Life, for most people are hard. Even if we're wealthy Westerners, there's lots of trauma and lots of sadness. And you watch the news and it's not all that great.

Harvey McKinnon (00:07:04):

So when you can touch people's heart by giving them some inspiration, they want to be part of that. So, when you save an area of rainforest or world growth forest, that's going to be around for future generations hundreds of years into the future and protect all the animals in there, that's inspirational. And the same thing, you find a cure for a rare cancer or a rare trait disease and you know that's going to affect thousands of people around the world, and you're part of that, that's pretty inspiring as well.

Tammy Zonker (00:07:37):

Yeah, and I think that your book, and really, as long as I've known you, your philosophy is kind of at that intersection of great storytelling and genuinely being curious and asking questions. And from my view, that's really one of your brilliant traits is having donors, not only us being curious about them and their passions and their values and what they might want to support, how they might want to change the world or make a difference, but also piquing their curiosity about our work, and developing that passion and that inspiration. And part of the way that we do that is by removing barriers. As humans we're kind of hardwired for a negative bias. And I feel like your 11 questions help remove the barriers by us proactively addressing the questions.

Harvey McKinnon (00:08:42):

And I like the way you phrase that, because when I'm doing presentations on this, or teaching, I always talk about removing the barriers. Because if you can answer all these questions in advance or some of them in advance and the materials you send them on the website, everyone that's removed is potentially removing a barrier.


You can also download the full transcript

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Links mentioned in this episode

Western Canada Fundraising Conference, June 8th - 10th, 2022 in Kelowna, B.C.

The Secrets of Building a Better Board: 25 Tips, Tools, and Hacks for Improving Board Engagement  Click to learn more and register.

And now, Harvey is passing his wealth of knowledge on to you in the Monthly Giving Accelerator program.

Through this intensive, 20 module self-paced online course, Harvey will teach you everything he’s learned about monthly giving. Whether you’re starting a new program or want to improve an existing one, Harvey will show you how to find donors, how to keep donors, and how to recapture donors that might lapse. He’ll go through every channel possible, from direct mail, face-to-face, events, phone, and digital – as well as all aspects of recruitment and retention.

Download full details and curriculum or email Harvey McKinnon for more information


Books mentioned in this episode

The Power of Giving: How Giving Back Enriches Us All

Hidden Gold by Harvey McKinnon

The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks by Harvey McKinnon

How to Create Lifelong Donors Through Monthly Giving by Harvey McKinnon

The Power of Giving by Harvey McKinnon & Azim Jamal 

Made to Stick by Dan Heath & Chip Heath

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews


Connect with our guest online

Twitter / Linkedin / Website


Connect with Tammy Zonker on social

You can also connect with Tammy on Twitter and Instagram at @tammyzonker, and on LinkedIn.


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