The Great Thinkers' Guide to Donor Relationships
Your organization tackles tough problems. Your donor cares enough, about both you and those problems, to give generously of herself to help. Together, you’re on a mission to find a happy ending to a dark and troubled story. And, like companion volumes of an epic novel, neither of you can reach the end without the other.
'Assumptions are the termites of relationships.' — Henry Winkler
OK, so “The Fonz” isn’t the first name that springs to mind in the pantheon of great thinkers. And yet he’s right. Don’t you remember your mother telling what happens when you assume?
One of the most common — and expensive — mistakes we fundraisers make is to assume donors are like us. That they will respond to what we respond to. So we drown them in statistics because numbers are important to us. We weave detailed narratives about our programs because they means so much to us. And yet, the thing donors really want to know is simply that their gifts will make a difference.
'Do to others as you would have them do to you.' — Jesus of Nazareth
It’s not called the Golden Rule for nothing. And nowhere is it more apropos than in fundraising. However much you want your donor to care about your work, you have to care that much and more. If you want your donor to be generous, you must be generous as well.
So, as in any relationship, to be successful, you have be the person you want your partner (or donor) to be. I just hope it’s not too late to try this with my girlfriend.
Willis believes in expressive writing, exceptional fundraising, and exuberant living.
Willis Turner is the senior copywriter at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He was an experienced writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 20 years before making the switch to fundraising nearly 15 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, as well as collateral materials and communications, that get attention, tell emotional stories, and persuade people to take action or make a donation.