Why donors go away

The new Passionate Giving blog has been running a series of posts called “10 reasons most major donor programs suck.” You should check out all ten reasons, but especially #9: We Don’t Tell Donors How They Made a Difference:

Most non-profits do a great job of identifying problems and ASKING. Some are even pretty good at THANKING, but most have a very hard time REPORTING BACK and specifically telling the donor how they made a difference.

Failing to report back is the fast track to irrelevance with your donors. Because it sends a very clear unintended message: Your gift didn’t make a difference.

Someone who writes you a check with three or more zeroes in it (not counting the ones after the decimal) can reasonably expect to make a difference. If you don’t tell them they made a difference, that communicates one of three things:


  1. Their gift wasn’t important.
  2. Important or not, nobody at the organization took note of their gift.
  3. The organization doesn’t have its act together enough to know whether the gift was important.

Any of those would make future giving less likely.

By the way, failure to report back isn’t only why so many major donor programs suck, it’s why so many organizations struggle to hold on to donors at all levels.

This is one of the most important and under-appreciated jobs of fundraisers. Every donor should know that their giving makes a difference.


Comments

2 responses to “Why donors go away”

  1. Gosh, I wish I would have had that information elarier!

  2. Gosh, I wish I would have had that information elarier!

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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