A colleague posted on Facebook: “Meeting with an important donor. They wear crazy socks so I wear crazy socks…and then we compare crazy socks. This was not in my major gift training course.”

But maybe it should have been taught.

Everyone appreciates being recognized and known. The crazy socks illustrate that the gift officer acknowledges them as an individual, not just another “cookie-cutter” donor. While it costs nothing to do, I’ll bet that it pays major dividends in the relationship.

Pay attention to the small cues that people give you about what is important to them. What kind of candy is always on their desk? Do they suggest a certain restaurant or prefer a special dessert? Do they have a dog near and dear to their heart or a child who is their focus? What hobby can be that conversation hook for you?

You should know a personal nugget about every single person with whom you are trying to establish a relationship, whether that be a colleague, client or classmate. Use those tidbits to create connections that will last far longer than your crazy socks will.

Thanks, Meg!

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