Lately, I’ve been writing a large number of donor and volunteer profiles. And for me, when it comes to writing an interesting profile – a real human-interest story – it’s all about the interview.
I like to arrive with as many questions as possible, both top-level and context-specific. Here are some of my favourite top-level questions for unearthing a good donor or volunteer story:
- When did you get involved with this organization?
- What attracted you to the cause?
- What attracted you to this organization in particular?
- What are your activities and what do they involve?
- What motivates you to stay involved?
- In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?
- Why do you volunteer/donate?
- Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?
- What do you hope the organization will achieve in the near future? In the long term?
- Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?
- Do you have an anecdote about this cause/organization that really moved you?
- What other organizations or causes do you support?
- Do you have a message to share?
Ask everything – you can unearth some surprisingly interesting information with what seems like an obvious question. And give yourself enough time to allow the conversation to stray a little: sometimes that’s where the best nuggets and colourful anecdotes come in.