Your donor is an artist, their giving is their art

Here’s a truly helpful way to think about donors and their giving, from colludo: Donor as Artist: Inspiring the Art of Creating Change.

Imagine your donor is an artist, and you are the medium they use to make art — that is, the better world they want — by giving to your organization:

  • Be the mirror, the window, & provide the canvas. Show them how giving to you puts their values into action, solves the problem they care about.
  • Be a patron of gratitude. Affirm what they’ve done. Praise them for their generosity and vision. Give them all the credit! Thanking is the main way you “pay back” your donors.
  • Tap into their muse. Pay attention to what motivates them to give. Show them more of that! Also, just ask them what they care about.
  • Display their work. Let them (and everyone) see the difference they make by giving. Tell the story of their heroic giving.
  • Inspire them to continue creating. Show them how the more they give, the longer they keep giving, the bigger difference they make.

Thinking this way can help you break free from the transactional mindset, where we try to cajole donors into giving us money for free. That’s not what charitable giving is about. It’s much more like creating a very special kind of art.


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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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