Listening to donors only takes you so far

Listening to donors is important. But the real fundraising breakthroughs are going to come from going beyond listening.


Donors can only tell us what they consciously know. But a lot that’s going on in their brains that really matters — they aren’t conscious of! That’s why you have to observe donors. Know them better than they know themselves.


That’s the message, in a commercial context, at the Customer Experience Matters blog post, Don’t Listen To Customers, Understand Them:



Breakthrough innovations often address needs that customers can’t articulate with solutions that customers can’t imagine. So customers feedback can not be used to define the requirements…. Breakthrough innovations require understanding customers, not listening to them.

Are we doing that in fundraising? Actually digging into our donors’ inner lives, so we can meet the needs they don’t know they have yet? Or are we limited to their stated desires.


Listening is a lot better than not listening — and a lot rarer. The understanding — that’s were the great stuff is going to come from.


Think about this superb quote by Sir Denys Lasdun, the English architect, saying that the architect’s job is to give a client: Not what he wants but what he never dreamed that he wanted; and when he gets it, he recognizes it as something he wanted all the time.


Comments

6 responses to “Listening to donors only takes you so far”

  1. Personas help! Demographics dont’ (much). Here’s some guidance on crafting personas to increase just this kind of understanding.
    http://www.nancyschwartz.com/nonprofit_persona_development.html

  2. Personas help! Demographics dont’ (much). Here’s some guidance on crafting personas to increase just this kind of understanding.
    http://www.nancyschwartz.com/nonprofit_persona_development.html

  3. Ah-ha! So how do we get that understanding?
    For my money, it begins in person: It’s *our* presence, our authentic curiosity, our questions — always respectful of the person as you suggest, Jeff — that can precipitate our understanding. When well done, I’ve found, it’s always insightful to the person, too.

  4. Ah-ha! So how do we get that understanding?
    For my money, it begins in person: It’s *our* presence, our authentic curiosity, our questions — always respectful of the person as you suggest, Jeff — that can precipitate our understanding. When well done, I’ve found, it’s always insightful to the person, too.

  5. Thoughtful post, Jeff. I would also suggest that “Asking donors only gets you so far.”

  6. Thoughtful post, Jeff. I would also suggest that “Asking donors only gets you so far.”

Leave a Reply

What this blog is about

The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

Blog policies

Subscribe

Get new posts by email:

About the blogger

Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


Archives

Blogroll

Categories


Search the blog

The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

Recent Comments

About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

Blog Roll

someone’s blog