The Language, Principles and Variations of Good Donation Conversations

This 2-day in-person donation workshop organizes the best practices of face-to-face requests into 15 principles and provides specific instruction on how to operationalize those in conversations. For instance, Principle # 2 is Establish Rapport. This principle is broken into sub-principles (eliciting their story, exploring their concerns empathizing, and normalizing.)  Examples of sample wording is provided for each. All 15 principles are covered on the first day of the workshop and some are embedded with mini-role plays.

As some of the principles diverge from what has become common practice in some parts of the U.S., the first session of the second day is devoted to problem-solving around any issues the model raises. For instance, Principle # 4 is Frame the Decision as the Family’s, but the decision is now so commonly framed as the potential donor’s that many coordinators don’t even recognize they are doing this or understand how it impacts the way both they and hospital personnel deal with families. This shift in framing takes some processing time.

The rest of the second day is devoted to role-playing and to particulars of the conversation that can’t be taught didactically. Often, time is spent on un-learning common practices that lose donations, e.g. asking permission to give information, ignoring concerns that are expressed more than once, and leaving too soon when families are in disagreement.

Because adults learn so much from each other, we think this workshop is best offered to a group of 12-24 participants from more than one organization in a two-day format with two instructors. However, we also offer it in a two-day format for 6-12 participants with one instructor. We are experimenting with a long one-day format for 5 or fewer participants for clients who have only a few people to train. We send instructions for how to put the workshop on when it is booked.

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