The Enlightened Path for Fundraisers
Donors are changing. They’re asking for more involvement with the charities they support. They need to know and feel their giving makes a difference. They want more information and more connection.
The tried-and-true ways we’ve used to interact with donors must change if we want to meet and serve the new donors. Here are some ways enlightened nonprofits can change in the coming years:
The Old Way: Nonprofits harvest gifts from donors.
The Enlightened Way: Nonprofits cultivate relationships with donors.
Think of donors as people you get to know, not just assets you own. Asking for gifts is just one reason to communicate with donors. You also can encourage them to talk back to you — about what they care about and how they want to be treated. You also should be reporting back to donors about the impact of their giving.
Ultimately, if you really want to engage with donors at a meaningful level, you’ll develop personalized, custom-tailored communications based on donor preferences and behavior.
The Old Way: Nonprofits seek a large quantity of donors.
The Enlightened Way: Nonprofits seek quality donors.
Getting a zillion low-dollar gifts at a sufficiently low cost has been the name of the game — and has kept many fundraising programs afloat for decades. Trouble is, low-dollar donors also tend to be low-involvement donors: They have lower retention rates and they upgrade less.
The new donors aren’t interested in spreading around $5 and $10 gifts. They tend to give more, stay around longer and increase their involvement over time. And they’re choosier about the organizations they’ll support in the first place.
This change among donors, coupled with higher postage and production costs, changes the math of fundraising in some fundamental ways. It adds up to fewer and more demanding donors who make you play by their rules. But they also give more if you play along.