If customers are heroes, then what are donors?

The donor is the hero.

Persuade with story, not statistics.

Those are almost the only two things you need to know to be a great fundraiser.

So I was surprised to see a blog about commercial marketing saying pretty much just that. About selling stuff, not about fundraising.

The post, How to Make Story Your Core Message, at Duct Tape Marketing, makes good marketing sound a lot like good fundraising. Starting with calling your customers heroes:

  • Learn the hero’s backstory. (Understand who your donors and where they’re coming from. Be relevant to their experience.)
  • Give them an antagonist. (Make it clear what it is they’re fighting, or fixing, or improving.)
  • Call them to duty. (Asking isn’t just a polite suggestion; it should be a battle cry!)
  • Help them persevere. (Give them reasons to keep giving.)
  • Free them. (Show them the results of their giving. Make it clear how amazing a difference they’re making.)

So keep your eyes open! Marketers know this stuff too, and the smart ones are already doing this. Your donors are getting more and more used to being treated as heroes.

That means if you don’t treat them that way, you’ll be a notably flat and unrewarding experience for many donors.


Comments

2 responses to “If customers are heroes, then what are donors?”

  1. The big advantage of the customer model, therefore, is that it recognises this competitive context of giving and the need for continual innovation, interaction and excellent, differentiated service. Its downside is that what donors end up ‘buying’ is potentially not what is actually being delivered by the organisation. The marketing approach also runs counter to the needs of the charity’s managers….

  2. The big advantage of the customer model, therefore, is that it recognises this competitive context of giving and the need for continual innovation, interaction and excellent, differentiated service. Its downside is that what donors end up ‘buying’ is potentially not what is actually being delivered by the organisation. The marketing approach also runs counter to the needs of the charity’s managers….

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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.