1. Focus on individual cultivation
We introverts love one-on-one conversations. Though we will still tire of the interaction and need our down time, one-on-one situations are more rewarding for us. They allow us to have richer, more fulfilling discussions, and they allow us to converse in a rhythm that allows for our deeper thought processes. Those discussions are ideally in person or video chat, but we enjoy email correspondence as well, so don’t shy away from having conversations via email. They allow us to think before replying.
Beyond conversations, we’ll enjoy individual opportunities to learn about the organization, either through material sent to us, or through opportunities to visit programs and/or meet with program staff and participants. Nothing beats that close proximity to a program, especially for us introverts.
2. Don’t push us to attend fundraising events
We know events are important to your organization, but we cringe at the thought of attending most of them. We might go because we care and want to come through for you and the organization we love, but we’ll wish we weren’t there the whole time. How about saying to us “I know you really don’t want to come to the event, and I want to respect that. Would you consider making a contribution to the event in lieu of attending? We’d love to have you on our donor list for it.”
As for cultivation events, invite us to the small ones and make sure someone is assigned to talk to us. Otherwise, we’ll feel uncomfortable, especially if we don’t know anyone else.
3. Write to us
Please don’t call us. Getting that call out of the blue is jarring. It puts us on the spot, especially if you’re calling to set up a time to get together. Instead, write to us (see #1). We promise to get back to you immediately with a thoughtful response. If you’re calling just to thank us or inform us of something, we’ll find that less stressful, but we’ll just as soon have that information delivered in writing as well.
4. Go deep, not wide
You don’t need to contact us constantly. We don’t need that much attention. But when you do contact us, make sure it’s a meaningful connection. Have a real dialog with us that shows you care and that we’re important to your organization. A few of those touchpoints a year will go a long way. Of course, send us all your regular correspondence as well – newsletters, annual reports, big announcements, and the like. We do want to be informed – we just don’t need you engaging us constantly in a personal one-on-one way.
5. Pair us strategically with fundraisers
Think carefully about who we’re paired with based on our Asking Styles (quiz.askingmatters.com). As a Kindred Spirit, I do well with everyone but a Rainmaker – sometimes they can overpower me. I do best with my fellow Kindred Spirits as we are most likely to see eye-to-eye on what’s key to the organization, and we’ll feel most comfortable with the rhythm of the conversation.
Mission Controllers will do best with Mission Controller fundraisers as they speak the same language. Go-Getter fundraisers could be most challenging as they won’t be structured enough in meetings. Of course, you can’t always choose who cultivates and solicits who, and in that case be sure to understand your Style versus that of your donor and how that might impact the conversation.