Does your organization have “we hate donors” syndrome?

I’ve several times had the misfortune of working with organizations that had a culture of disdain for their donors.

Donors were seen as an undesirable, but unavoidable part of the funding structure. It was common to hear complaints about how the donors forced a simplistic and unsatisfying style of communication. Grand attempts to identify and recruit a better grade of donors happened periodically. (And always failed.)

Fundraising can be hard. But it’s almost impossible when you don’t like donors.

The root of “we hate donors” syndrome is a “we use donors” culture. A common and insidious syndrome that can start growing almost invisibly.

The Veritus Group blog offers some questions that can help you learn if your organization is starting down the slope to “we hate donors”: Are Your Donors a Means to an End?


  • Are your systems and structures set up to serve your organization, or your donors?
  • Does your Executive Director or CEO spend at least half of their time with donors?
  • Do you respect the time and effort of your board and volunteers who help you fundraise, by being clear and specific with what you need from them?
  • Do your donors have a seat at the table?
  • Have you packaged your programs and projects so that it’s easy for donors to understand and fund at different financial levels?
  • Are you delighting your donors?

Watch for these things. They can destroy your fundraising program.


Comments

2 responses to “Does your organization have “we hate donors” syndrome?”

  1. Great warning here. My sense is that few orgs set out to “hate” their donors. It’s subtle lapses in both attitude and practice that snowball over time and poison the org’s culture. Something to keep an eye on for sure!

  2. Great warning here. My sense is that few orgs set out to “hate” their donors. It’s subtle lapses in both attitude and practice that snowball over time and poison the org’s culture. Something to keep an eye on for sure!

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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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