Fall brings with it images of football, pumpkins, and children dressing up to go trick-or-treating. While we may no longer wear the costumes, each of us has pieces of ourselves that stay hidden from the world. As development professionals, it’s easy to get distracted by obvious, outward appearances. The challenge is to look beneath these masks to find the deeper truths and motivations of donors and potential donors.



People are motivated to contribute for their own reasons, and those reasons are not always obvious.


Have all the potential donors with whom you work shared the stories behind their philanthropic motivations? Chances are, many more will be eager to share their personal stories with you when they learn that you respect and care about them and want to help them make a difference based on those life experiences.

  • Where and when can you meet with a donor so that he or she will feel secure in sharing on a deeper level?
  • Knowing what you do about the donor, what questions might you ask to reveal deeper personal stories?
  • How might you utilize the Process for Locating Philanthropic Passion™?
  • How will you adapt to the donor’s personality profile to encourage open communication?
  • How will you make the donor feel good about sharing his or her personal experiences with you?


Going behind the mask to uncover deeply held motivations is a rewarding process—for both the development professional and the donor.