Three Things Your Donor Doesn’t Give a Hoot About
It’s often been said (by me, anyway) that empathy could do more good in the world than war and peace put together. That’s especially true in the world of fundraising, where you’re trying to get people to give you money, and you’re giving them nothing in return but a warm feeling.
After all, it’s how people feel, not what they think, that determines their behavior.
So how do donors feel? It’s a simple question, but the answers can be very complicated and contradictory. We’re talking about human nature, after all.
It might not be easy to know what donors care about, but there are a few things you can be certain they don’t care about. And unfortunately, they might be things you care about very deeply. That’s why you need to fine-tune your empathy. It’s tough to do. But then, if fundraising was easy, anybody could do it.
Below are three things that probably are very important to your organization. You probably want to talk about them a lot, and you hope that your enthusiasm is infectious. Unfortunately, they are things your donor couldn’t really care less about. Let’s start with the most painful, and maybe it will get better from there:
I hate to say it, but your donor doesn’t really care about you. She cares about herself. That’s why she supports you. The work you do moves her. Helping you makes her feel needed and empowered. Her gifts give her a sense of being part of something larger than herself.
The more you tell her that she’s helping, the more she’ll contribute. The more you remind her that she’s on the side of the angels, the more often she’ll give. And the more she hears that she is important to you — and not the other way around — the longer she’ll stay an active part of your file.
Willis believes in expressive writing, exceptional fundraising, and exuberant living.
Willis Turner is the senior copywriter at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He was an experienced writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 20 years before making the switch to fundraising nearly 15 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, as well as collateral materials and communications, that get attention, tell emotional stories, and persuade people to take action or make a donation.