What Your Donor Wants
Almost every day, I am kindly interrupting a conversation and asking: “What’s the problem?” The conversation could be about a drywall situation in a new house, dealing with an unruly child, a banking problem or, bringing it to our world, how to manage a major donor.
I was in a board meeting recently where one person was going on and on about process, the basis for the argument, the underlying values a host of other relevant, but unnecessary, details and missing the point that the audience had not quite grasped what the problem or situation was. So, I carefully interrupted and did my thing and said: “So, what is the point you are getting at?” And the person stated the point, and everyone in the room noticeably sighed “ahh...” You could tell they got it.
It is so easy to get off the main point that donors want to solve a problem. THAT is why they give. And then they want some other things, which Mark Phillips, CEO and founder of Bullfrog in the UK, has so brilliantly depicted here.
But left to our own devices, we will talk about us, our process, how great we are, why we are different, etc. — never realizing that the donor does not really care about all of that. They care about two fundamental things:
- That their giving is making a difference. This is the problem-solving thing.
- How they are being treated. This is all about respect, care, treating a donor as a partner in solving the problem versus treating them as a source of cash.
If you have uncovered the donor’s interests and passions, and are faithfully and energetically serving the donor to fulfill them through your organization, you are creating a situation where the donor is actively working out what they want to do in our hurting world through you. And because they hold that problem-solving activity so close to their hearts, they will be thankful for the good that is happening because of you.
It is an amazing thing. That is why Jeff and I love this work. It is so motivating to know that, as a result of what we do in major gifts, there are hundreds of thousands of donors around the world that are personally finding fulfillment by giving to what they care about.
Please do two things with this information:
- Give yourself a gift of appreciation for the good you have done in each of your donor’s lives. Because of you, a donor is finding true purpose and fulfillment in a very important area of their life — helping others.
- Audit all of your communication to be sure that your messaging is about what the donor cares about. Remember, we, the insiders, will always default to what we care about: budgets, process, reputation, etc. The donor does not care about that. They just want to know that their giving has actually done some good and made a difference.
And I would print out these two actions and post them near your computer, so you are daily reminded to focus on what is important in your work.
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.