Putting Donors at the Center of Your Thinking Can Cure an Ailing Fundraising Program
Your top-notch staff, your wonderful events, your well-honed methodology, your superior mindset — all these things are part of your uniqueness and your ability to accomplish your mission. But donors aren't much interested in that. They just want to give to achieve clear results they can understand. Swallow your pride and meet donors where they are.
NPNGS sometimes takes an even more virulent form — called "branding." In the commercial world, branding means to identify your customers and shape your message and product to those customers. In the nonprofit world, branding often takes the exact opposite direction: Organizations identify their own beliefs and aspirations--and then strictly codify these things into a communication platform.
This is typically done with little or no connection to what donors know, believe or expect. The results are predictable: puzzled, unmotivated donors who eventually migrate toward more accommodating places to invest their giving.
A donor-centered brand--one that puts the needs of donors at center-stage — is a powerful thing. The nonprofits that cure themselves of NPNGS and create donor-centered brands are the ones with the truly bright futures.
The most typical symptom of this common malady is not letting donors designate their giving. They simply aren't given the choice. Donors are only allowed to give unrestricted or undesignated funds.
If this is happening in your organization, it's possible you have Malignant Accountants who are not working for your donors. And if they don't work for your donors, they're not working for you. You might need to have them removed.
The new generation of donors demands choice and power. They get plenty of both from the commercial world. They increasingly demand the same from the nonprofits they support. If you can empower your donors, they will reward you. But if your accountants' need to make their jobs easy keeps you from empowering donors, you will generally end up with one or both of these problems: