Your donors will remember how you make them feel

Here’s a great quote, from Clairification at Heed Maya Angelou to Retain More Donors:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Here are some ways to make donors feel good about giving to your organization:


  • In the first place, make your fundraising about what they can do to make a better place. Not how they can help you make the world better. Give them the action! They aren’t your sidekick — you are their sidekick.
  • Thank them. Really thank them. Specifically for what they did, and with just as much passion, emotion, and storytelling as you used when you asked for the gift. Make it as personal as you can possibly afford to make it.
  • Show them what happens because of them. Close the loop. Let them see the difference they made. Be as specific as possible. Newsletters. Special reports. Letters. Videos. Make sure they know what their giving does.
  • Don’t brag. Your brand may have told you to constantly go on about your awesomeness. That’s a waste of time and it doesn’t make donors feel better. Give donors the credit for the awesomeness.

That’s how you’ll get more donors — and keep them. Donors are searching for charities that make them feel good. Not enough of them are doing that. You’ll be on the short-list of standouts when you do.


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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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