Are you trying to “improve” your donors?

The other day, we looked at the weird concept of “poverty porn” and how it’s a framework for blaming donors for the difficulty of raising funds.

A recent article on the Huffington Post continues that line of thinking, asking why nonprofit organizations haven’t yet transformed planet Earth.

Guess what? It’s the donors’ fault!

All we have to do is train them to be better, smarter, more perceptive people. Just like us! Here’s the plan: The Five Mistakes Donors Make (and How to Fix Them)

The problem, according to this article is that “The vast majority [of donors] put almost no effort into deciding where to give.”


  1. Being limited by personal experiences.
  2. Over-emphasis on overhead.
  3. Putting financial handcuffs on charities.
  4. Giving to rich countries — specifically, Americans giving to help other Americans.
  5. Arrogance.

Arrogance? Ask yourself who’s arrogant in this scenario. Just maybe it’s the one who says donors are ignorant, wrong-headed, and giving to the wrong causes — because international development is the only real cause.

We need to stop scolding donors. They have no responsibility whatsoever to get onto our wavelength. It’s our responsibility to win them over.

The good news is, if you are not one of those scolding, unhappy, fix-the-donors fundraisers, you are already raising more funds. If you are one of them, you’re wasting a lot of time and money going nowhere.

Love your donors. Seek to understand them. Connect with them in their world. Don’t try to remake them into your sidekicks. That doesn’t work.


Comments

2 responses to “Are you trying to “improve” your donors?”

  1. Absolutely! Donors give to the causes that are important to THEM. Learn more about what is important to them and what they care about. Learn how to make connections and build relationships.

  2. Absolutely! Donors give to the causes that are important to THEM. Learn more about what is important to them and what they care about. Learn how to make connections and build relationships.

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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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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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