Always Ask: Where’s the Donor?
There’s a lot of chatter about developing a culture of philanthropy. And quite a few people have pretty good ideas on how to do it.
I’m sure it’s not surprising to you that Jeff and I have our own opinions on how best to go about it. And we could share with you our five to eight points, and I think it would be a satisfactory experience.
But there is only one thing you need to do to get yourself and your organization down a path of building a culture of philanthropy.
Just ask the question, “Where’s the donor?” in every situation you are in:
- You’re in a meeting deciding what donor software to buy. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
- You’re writing copy for a receipt letter. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
- You’re talking to finance about how you can improve receipting. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
- A donor calls to tell you she cannot give as much as last year. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
- A donor has asked for some information, and you’ve delayed getting it, because you have so much other work to do. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
- You’re in a management meeting creating next year’s budget. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
- You and your colleagues are discussing corporate values. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
- A program your donors are supporting needs to be shut down, and the program has given you good reasons why it should. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?””
- You are worried about donor attrition and got a bunch of staff together to discuss what to do about it. Ask: “Where’s the donor in this?”
You get where I am going. If the donor is not present in our minds, we cannot hope to become more philanthropically minded.
If in any and every situation you face in your organization, you ask yourself and ask others where the donor is in this, you will, over time, become more culturally philanthropic. This will happen because you, and everyone else who heard you utter the words, will start to put the donor where they belong in the process — the conversation, the copy, the objective and the outcome.
Try doing this during this coming week. And let us know how it goes.
If you’re hanging with Richard it won’t be long before you’ll be laughing.
He always finds something funny in everything. But when the conversation is about people, their money and giving, you’ll find a deeply caring counselor who helps donors fulfill their passions and interests. Richard believes that successful major-gift fundraising is not fundamentally about securing revenue for good causes. Instead it is about helping donors express who they are through their giving. The Connections blog will provide practical information on how to do this successfully. Richard has more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership and fundraising experience, and is founding partner of the Veritus Group.