The question you should never ask donors

It’s sounds like a great idea: Ask donors how often they’d like to be contacted by your organization. Considerate and donor-respecting … thus effective. Right?

Maybe not, as noted by the Veritus Group blog at Follow What Donors Will Do, Not What They Say:

… if you ask a donor about mailing or contact frequency — how often you should be in touch — the answer will be that your contact with the donor should be less frequent, not more. But if you have a program to present to the donor that matches her passions and interests, believe me, the donor will want to connect more frequently rather than less. If she is not interested, she will want less contact.

There’s a funny thing about us humans: We hold opinions with our heads, but actions come almost entirely from our hearts.

What we “know” can have little connection with what we do. It’s predictable that most donors will choose less contact when asked. But that’s the wrong question.

Find out what they really care about. And then they’ll welcome more contact. And donate 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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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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