They Are Not Your Donors

Fundraising is a full-time job (at least), and nonprofit professionals spend a lot of time thinking about “their donors.”

What do they want?

How can we communicate our impact?

How can we get new donors? Younger donors? Bigger donors?

How do we better retain the donors we have?

All of these are good questions. Big, important questions that development professionals should think about every day.

But first, take a moment to pause. Reflect. And reframe the whole idea.

Mark Phillips of Blue Frog has an excellent quote about this that really gets to the heart of the issue. He says:

“They are not your donors. You are one of their charities.”

That’s it. That’s the beginning, and the heart, of everything in fundraising.

Before you can answer any of the questions above (and you should), repeat this mantra to yourself. They are not your donors. Flip the perspective: you are one of their charities.

Now what are the implications of that reframing?

It means you need to put them at the center of the experience. Make them the hero of the story. Make it easy to give. Say thank you, and then say it again. Go above and beyond and demonstrate that they matter.

Blackbaud’s 2017 study “Vital Signs: Monitoring Giving Patterns in the Donor Marketplace” affirms this practice. Among its other rich insights, the study states succinctly:

American donors are more valuable to American nonprofit organizations than the organizations are to the donors.

Phew. On the one hand, it’s a cold, hard reality for nonprofits to face.

And on the other hand.

It’s a huge opportunity.

Before your next fundraising team meeting, take a moment to flip the script. When you send out that next email, or pick up the phone to make a call to a donor – remember. You’re one of their charities. Put them at the center.

And just see how much richer that relationship becomes.

Your next campaign could be radically donor-centric. Talk to a Charidy fundraising specialist today to get started.