Your donor is a hero — and what that means to for your fundraising

Virtually every myth you’ve ever heard, and most of the books you’ve read and movies you’ve seen have pretty much the same plot.

Joseph Campbell, an American scholar, “discovered” this in the middle of the last century. He called it the “monomyth” or the Hero’s Journey.

Every hero goes through the same basic pattern on his or her journey of transformation.

And so does every donor.

For donors, the cycle starts with “ordinary life,” then moves to knowing about the cause to caring about the cause, to giving. Then the donor experiences transformation … until she returns to ordinary life, ready to go through the cycle again. But each time the cycle gets easier and quicker.

Knowing what that pattern is can help you write better, more interesting, more resonant stories. It’s also useful in your own life — the story you are making by what you do. When you understand the Hero’s Journey pattern, it can guide your life decisions.

But there’s one more thing you can do with the Hero’s Journey: You can do better fundraising.

That’s because your donors go through that same Hero’s Journey as they move toward giving. The Donor Journey maps almost exactly to the monomyth Hero’s Journey. And knowing that helps you as a fundraiser be relevant to the donor…

Which means you can raise more money.

I’m going to be talking about the Donor’s Journey next month at The Fundraisers Forum, on the 27th & 28th of August in Auckland, New Zealand.

I hope to see you there!

Information and registration here.

I’ll also be leading a half-day Master Class, How to Create Record-Smashing Direct Mail: 7 Practical, Soup-to-Nuts Steps to Success. If you find direct mail a little intimidating (and believe me, we all do), you need this master class!

So if you’re a Kiwi fundraiser, let’s gather next month in Auckland!

And you can get a significant early-bird price break if you register before August 7.

And if you’re one of those unfortunate people who can’t be in New Zealand on August 27 and 28, send me an email. Maybe I can bring this good news directly you!


Comments

2 responses to “Your donor is a hero — and what that means to for your fundraising”

  1. Donor is like the fuel and the fundraising is the car. That means the fundraising is nothing if there’s no donor.

  2. Donor is like the fuel and the fundraising is the car. That means the fundraising is nothing if there’s no donor.

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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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