Practice Saying ‘I’m Sorry’
Strange as it may seem, your donors and supporters actually like it when you say, “I’m sorry.”
For nonprofits, apologizing is effective when it addresses two quite different situations. First, admit the mistakes you make in your programs. For example, the social service program that delivered mediocre outcomes or the performing arts performance that bombed.
When you admit these, you’re apologizing to your investors—your donors. Doing so raises your capital with your donors and gives them the opportunity to be generous with you again.
The second situation, which demands a meaningful apology, is when you’ve violated a donor’s trust. It can be a very small thing, like misspelling their name or the much more serious breech of misallocating a gift per the donor’s instructions.
When you say “sorry” to these, it’s incumbent on you to correct the error right away. Do whatever it takes.
It’s only the sincere apology that counts.
Lots of people say “sorry.” The unique fundraising idea is to really mean it. For many, saying “sorry” is regretting that they were called on it. We’ve seen it all too often. Bureaucracy defending an indefensible status quo.
For those who are sincere and show that sincerity by their follow-up, the benefits are limitless.
Principle 6 of The Eight Principles™ is Divide & Grow™. Treat different donors differently. After all, we all want to be validated, reassured.
The nonprofit leader who works within this principle will discover another—abundance. They will see their support—monetary and otherwise—skyrocket.
To your fundraising success!
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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