The story you’re telling yourself about donors, and 5 ways to make it better

What you believe about donors has a lot to do with how effective you can be at asking them to give. If you think they’re angry, tight-fisted, and about to walk away from you –your fundraising is going to be pretty bad. Because that’s not at all what’s going on with most donors.

Here’s a better way of looking at donors from the For Impact Blog; The Most Important Story is the Story You Tell Yourself.

The post is about major donors and meeting them in person. But the approach works well for thinking about any donors:

  • They are not really being ‘asked’ by everyone in town; they’re being invited to every gala in town.
  • The reason they haven’t given $1M is that no one’s ever ASKED.
  • They’re NOT tired of giving money. They’re FRUSTRATED at not having a big enough impact.
  • They’re LOOKING for meaning, purpose, and a way to have a bigger IMPACT.
  • They’re WAITING for us to ASK!

You can probably see how this more positive (and realistic) story about donors can lead to a more relevant and effective approach to asking. Try it. If you’re letting negative stories about donors cloud your thinking, change the story!


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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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