As children, we are taught the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Golden Rule conditions us to think about how our actions might be perceived by focusing on what we feel is respectful and kind treatment. However, the Golden Rule fails to take into account one critical factor: the other person’s perspective.

The Platinum Rule—“Treat others as they want to be treated”—focuses on how others prefer their interactions based on their personalities. As a development professional, it’s important to remember the Platinum Rule when visiting with potential donors, as each one has a unique personality, and thus, wants to be engaged in a different way. Remember, “It’s not about me!” Rather, it’s about treating donors as they want to be treated, which will result in higher levels of engagement, satisfaction, and, potentially, philanthropic investment.

To best utilize the Platinum Rule, you must first determine how each potential donor wishes to communicate. A great tool for this is the Professional DynaMetric Profile, or PDP. The PDP utilizes personality traits to determine an individual’s unique behavioral and communication style. Once you determine a potential donor’s personality profile, you can begin to create an engagement plan based on what they desire. Personality profiles are based on four cornerstone behavioral traits: Dominance, Extroversion, Pace/Patience, and Conformity.

Donors whose highest behavioral trait is Dominance focus on getting things done. When working with these donors, it is important to limit small talk, communicate directly, and help them perceive meaningful Return on Philanthropic Investment (ROPI) so they can foresee the impact of their contribution.

Donors whose highest behavioral trait is Extroversion focus on relationships with people. To ensure these donors are engaged with you and the organization, show them the impact their contribution has made for individuals, invite them to become involved in volunteer activities, and introduce them to leaders in your organization.

Donors whose highest behavioral trait is Pace/Patience seek a harmonious and predictable environment. These donors may be most comfortable meeting in a relaxing, familiar environment, such as their home. They tend to make decisions rather slowly and deliberately, so it is important to give them time to evaluate any philanthropic decisions.

Donors whose highest behavioral trait is Conformity are systems-oriented and follow processes. When visiting with these donors, remember that details are critical. They will tend to ask precise, detailed questions and will expect you to have done your homework prior to meeting with them. Be prepared to explore all aspects of the program and provide details in an itemized fashion.

Are there donors in your portfolio whom you are struggling to advance toward meaningful philanthropy? Adjust your strategy by applying the Platinum Rule: determine their unique style to build a trust-based relationship, communicate in the way they most appreciate, and create an impactful engagement experience that will lead to a deeper, more meaningful connection.


Contact us to learn more about how to use and understand a Professional DynaMetric Profile.