It’s Not About Me…It’s About You
There are so many options out there today for donors. Whether the particular cause is protecting the environment, eradicating poverty, feeding the hungry, animal welfare, or a host of other options, there are countless organizations that provide these services and need support. What’s a good way to set your nonprofit apart and create a loyal base of repeat donors?
By focusing on what your donors need to hear, instead of what you want to say.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently published an article that profiled a number of 2012 resolutions from members of the nonprofit community. Some of the key themes included focusing on what people want and building relationships with your donors.
According to Jeff Raikes, President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “We should constantly seek to improve engagements with our grantees, partners, and stakeholders. Not only do we need to share more about our strategies and what we’re learning, but we need to listen more…”
Along those same lines, Susan Raymond, Executive Vice President of the consulting company Changing Our World, notes, “The nonprofit and enterprise worlds are blending. Therefore, turn your thinking upside down and begin to think as though you operate in the competitive market because, increasingly, you do. Think first about what people want and what they expect, and only second about what you want to provide them. Be willing to turn on a dime programmatically and financially because if you do not, someone else will.”
As a fundraiser, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about your goals, how much money needs to be raised by the end of the fiscal year and the day-to-day mechanics of development. We tend to lose sight of the very people who want to help us – our donors. Check out Network for Good’s video that demonstrates this concept in a very humorous way.
It’s helpful to keep in mind that most donors give because they want to feel good. And, most importantly, they want to feel connected to your organization because you represent a cause that they strongly believe in.
So, instead of focusing on the dollars, take the time to step back and think about the results of what those dollars will achieve. How will these resources benefit your organization’s mission? How does your mission make the world a better place? Then, take the time to truly listen to your donors and help them learn how they can make a difference.
As we all know, it’s much harder to go out and find new supporters or try to win a disillusioned donor back. By fostering the connection you have with your current donors, you not only make your job easier, you lay the groundwork for their increased support and engagement.