According to charitable giving expert Richard Matheny, one of the biggest mistakes non-profit organizations make when having a sit-down with a potential major donor is the failure to communicate a crystal-clear picture of the mission behind the donation request. The NonProfit Times has summarized the key points of Matheny’s book, Major Gifts: Solicitation Strategies in its March 22 newsletter. Other key points include the willingness to fully understand the “frame of reference” of the potential donor, even if he or she does not share your mission viewpoint, and avoiding reliance on unsupported “inferences” about your potential donor rather than proceeding on the basis of known facts. The distinction can be critical, especially if your assumptions about the person across the table from you prove to be incorrect. In addition, the author says that the age-old bromide about the art of “listening” is still integral, because it can aid you in your information-gathering process about the potential donor.