Maintaining any sort of relationship can be a delicate task. This piece of wisdom applies in the nonprofit world as much as it does anywhere else. After all people are people and personalities, commitments, moods and temperaments all come into play. When a major donor does not want to talk to you, realize that this behavior does not necessarily mean “no,” but rather, there is perhaps something else going on, even possibly a problem in the relationship between you and her and the charity.  But always assume the best of the individual and give them the space they need – be respectful, personal, and frankly – human.

Should the donor say or imply, “I don’t like you,” then it’s often simple as that. There’s nothing wrong with your organization or your goal—that particular donor just doesn’t like you or care for your personality – maybe they just don’t connect with you. It could be age, a generational difference or even the fact you’re of the opposite gender than he or she. Usually it’s not your fault; the chemistry between the fundraiser and supporter just isn’t there. Fortunately, this problem can be easily remedied by moving the donor to another more suitable Major Gift Officer (MGO).

If the donor says, “Now is not a good time,” then once again, it’s often as simple as that. Like all people, major donors have times when they want to be solicited or hear about your great work and times when they’re simply too busy to be bothered with you. It’s not your fault; you just have to find a suitable time for both you and the donor. Don’t feel awkward asking, “Is this a good time?” or “When would be a good time?”

Unfortunately, a donor’s attitude can sometimes make these sorts of situations irresolvable. The words, “I don’t like what you’re saying,” are very hard to overcome. If a donor doesn’t like what you’re saying, that means she takes issue with your nonprofit, not you as a person. The best thing you can do in this situation is show her a side of the organization that you know she would like—try to serve her interests as best as your organization can.

When donors say, “I don’t want to meet in person,” they usually mean that face-to-face is not their preferred form of communication. So, adapt. If a major supporter prefers contact via email, then shoot her an email when you want to talk. Find her preference and stick to it. Fundraisers match the donor’s preference, not vice versa. Reach them how and with the type and frequency of communication they prefer. It’s got to be personal.

Always place the wants of the donor above your own. When they don’t want to talk to you, or push back in some way consider the points discussed and adjust accordingly.

Read more at NonProfitPro.