Your donor relationships are not your brand

by guest blogger Andrew Rogers

One-to-one marketing exponent and DMA Hall of Famer Don Peppers of the Peppers & Rogers Group (no relation) has a post on LinkedIn (Brands Aren’t the Same as Customer Relationships) stressing the crucial difference between a corporate brand and the company’s actual relationship with its customers.

I’d recommend reading the whole thing, substituting organization for company and donor for customer. But here’s the key point:

If you want your [charity] to be [donor]-centric, you need to know how profound the difference is between how your brand works, and how a [donor] relationship works.”

A “brand” is about how an organization sees itself and its place in the market. A relationship is about how the donor sees herself, what motivates her, what she responds to, and how supporting the organization helps her fulfill her goals.

Both have their place. But a successful, sustainable, and responsible fundraising program has to be based on relationships, not just branding.


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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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