Stop Trying to Teach Goldfish to Juggle
Non-donors are not so sure about working for a better world. They tend to believe the world is a mess that's getting worse all the time. This fatalistic attitude sometimes leads to a blame-the-victim mentality about human need: "Why should I help them? They'll just mess everything up and need help all over again."
Non-donors are less engaged in the world and their communities: far less likely to volunteer, belong to organizations, take part in events or interact positively with strangers.
Most of all, non-donors don't donate. Would you, if you saw the world the way they do?
They hate your fundraising. Because it is an indictment of the way they live. It forces them to come up with excuses for not giving — reasons they no doubt at least subconsciously recognize as bogus.
I realize I've made donors sound like idealized super-humans and non-donors sound like sorry, useless schlubs.
That's not my purpose. I've drawn the picture sharply to bring the difference into focus. Because when you understand this, it presents you with some good news, a danger to avoid and an opportunity to seize. Let's take a look at each of those …
The good news
Nearly everyone you communicate with when you raise funds is squarely in the donor category. These people donate!
They're always free to say no to any request, but they operate under this "deal": If you go to them with a compelling, meaningful and relevant reason to give, and if they agree with you, trust you and the time is right for them, they give. (Note all those ifs: Fundraising is still hard work!)
When you ask donors to give, you aren't barging into their world with an unwelcome proposition, like those guys who run up to your car at intersections, start washing your windows and expect payment. When you ask, you become part of the donor's world — a place where love, empathy and self-empowerment combine with generosity to make the world and the donor better.