How to keep up with changing donors

The New York Times has some advice for donors: Don’t Give Till It Hurts. It’s a recipe for not feeling guilty when you can’t or don’t want to give to particular charitable ask:


  1. Have a charitable giving plan.
  2. Follow the plan.
  3. When asked to make unplanned contributions, reply, “Thank you for the opportunity, but I’ve chosen to give in another way.”
  4. Never feel bad again.

There’s some evidence that a growing number of donors follow a plan something like this. For something like 10 years, response rates and have been dropping but average gifts have been growing. That could be a sign of donors consolidating their giving: larger donations to fewer organizations — possibly following a plan or a philosophy.

If that’s for real, what should you do?

Get on their short lists!

How?

Do donor-focused fundraising. That means:


  • Ask for donations in terms of what the donor can accomplish by giving — not because your organization is so awesome.
  • Be specific about what their giving will do.
  • Appeal to their values.
  • Be emotional and story-based.
  • Report back quickly and specifically on the impact their giving has.

The organizations that fail to do those things are finding it harder and harder to raise funds while more and more donors focus their giving onto fewer organizations.


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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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