Fundraising from donors who just aren’t that much into you

Some of the coolest donor-cultivation ideas I’ve seen have gone nowhere, and I think I know why: They were built on the assumption that donors were as into us as we are into ourselves.

Inspiring Generosity blog looks at that issue at When Building Donor Relationships, Talk is Cheap, with one of the big myths of fundraising: Everyone Loves You:

Despite what we desperately want to believe, most donors don’t want a relationship with your nonprofit. The gift comes in the mail because the donor is honoring the request of a friend or colleague, or maybe they want the deduction for their taxes. These donors don’t really care about your organization. They just gave you some money.

Yeah, some donors really do want a relationship with you. You know most of them already, because they are major donors, volunteers, or otherwise heavily involved.

Other donors are fanatically connected with your cause, but less so with your organization.

But more, probably most, of your donors — they just give. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to them. You are one of many organizations they give to. They give because something in your fundraising connected.

And that’s good enough. Remember, most people don’t give at all.

That’s why simple, clear, straightforward fundraising that donors can grasp without spending a lot of time and energy always works best.

Aim your fundraising at people who spend less than one minute a month thinking about you. They are where the bulk of the revenue comes from .

Keep the doors open to your fanatics; they are wonderful people, and they’ll give more than their share. But there aren’t that many of them.


Comments

2 responses to “Fundraising from donors who just aren’t that much into you”

  1. Jeff, good post. And, very true. Even in working with Major Donors, those that give $1,000 or more cume per year don’t want a relationship with you. In fact, after we take our client’s caseload pool through a rigorous qualifying strategy, only 25-30% of those donors want to have any kind of personal relationship with a major gift officer. The problem with most non-profits is that they think if they reach a certain dollar criteria they now have to treat them differently. As I just pointed out, that would be a wrong assumption. This is why it’s so important to spend time, energy and resources up front to find donors who really want that kind of relationship.

  2. Jeff, good post. And, very true. Even in working with Major Donors, those that give $1,000 or more cume per year don’t want a relationship with you. In fact, after we take our client’s caseload pool through a rigorous qualifying strategy, only 25-30% of those donors want to have any kind of personal relationship with a major gift officer. The problem with most non-profits is that they think if they reach a certain dollar criteria they now have to treat them differently. As I just pointed out, that would be a wrong assumption. This is why it’s so important to spend time, energy and resources up front to find donors who really want that kind of relationship.

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