A Culture of Hospitality

August 28, 2018



Written By: Bruce

By Bruce Berglund

Every August the Donor By Design team sets aside two days to tune-up our leadership skills at the Global Leadership Summit (GLS). Once again, the GLS didn’t disappoint.

One of the many speakers was restaurateur Danny Meyer. Meyer has built one of the most successful restaurant group brands in America. (You can read more about Danny Meyer here.)

In his session titled The Transforming of Hospitality, Meyer talked about how he builds and evaluates his team. I was struck with the real transferability to our work in fundraising and advancement.

Meyer shared,

“When I evaluate an employee, I look for 49% technical proficiency and 51% hospitality skills. Technical proficiency means you can do your job. But perfection in your job only counts for 49%. The rest is hospitality. Not service. Hospitality is about how we made you feel when we delivered service.”

Hospitality is truly at the core of what we do as fundraisers. If you were to break down your department functions by technical proficiency (receipting gifts accurately, subject matter knowledge, database management, etc.) and hospitality proficiency (connecting with your donors, translating your case, making it personally relevant, etc.) what might be on your list? Every employee at every level on your team must understand that we are ultimately in the hospitality business.

Meyer continued,

“What we’re working on the most is–beyond systems–how to scale culture. How do we scale the way we make you feel when you work in one of our places? How do we scale the way we make you feel when you dine in one of our places? It starts in the interview when we share what our company stands for. We don’t just hire based on what you can do but who you are in six key emotional skills. All these emotional skills add up to a high HQ – Hospitality Quotient. These people are most satisfied when someone else feels better.”

The six key emotional skills are:

  1. Kind-hearted and optimistic
  2. Curiosity
  3. Work Ethic
  4. Empathy
  5. Self-Awareness
  6. Integrity

Is this spirit of hospitality at the core of your development team and culture?

How would your team rate on Meyer’s Hospitality Quotient?

The very best fundraisers I have met have been servant leaders who are most satisfied when the donor feels better. Agreed?

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4 responses to “A Culture of Hospitality”

  1. Norris Lineweaver says:

    A Muslim leader in Jerusalem who was a member of the board of directors of the YMCA said the Christian brand on hospitality is legend. Not to take away from the culture of hospitality among Muslims and Jews, what he meant was the openness of Christians to the other and philanthropy we all benefit from. The culture of hospitality and philanthropy are it seems kissing cousins. Blended like gourmet coffee … you just keep coming back for more. Praise upward. Hope onward.

  2. John C Alexander says:

    Thanks for the message and lesson, Bruce. You tied Danny’s outline into the culture of philanthropy very well.