‘What does the donor want?’
We learn more when we listen than when we talk. Sounds simple, and it’s the basic tenet of donor relationships today.
In fundraising, we agonize over the wording of “the ask,” make sure we’re selecting the right people to solicit. We want to be sure event donors aren’t invited to the gala at the same time the fall appeal is to hit mailboxes. How do we motivate a donor to give to a cause/program that’s so very dear to the “XYZ Foundation?” How can we communicate the need - the urgency?
All important issues. But not the most important. What’s left? You guessed it -- what does the donor want?
If the answer to this question isn’t at the heart of your fundraising strategy, problems will develop with renewals. It’s a statistical certainty.
In commercial direct marketing, we want prospects and customers to buy something -- a product or service. We wouldn’t dream of trying to sell a 2005 Volvo to someone walking into a Harley-Davidson dealership. No matter what the “deal” we put on the table for the Volvo, chances are we won’t make that sale.
It’s not all that different in the world of fundraising. Donors support your cause because something you do -- either for them directly or for others -- makes them feel good.
Donor relationships are borne in the desire to quench a thirst. Maybe it’s free parking at the hospital. Or that window decal that shows the world that they care. And it could be simply the self-satisfaction they get in being part of a noble cause. Your cause.
Successful fundraising programs pay attention to all of these needs. How does that translate to your “to do” list? Ask yourself:
1. Have you asked each donor recently why he or she supports your organization?