4 ways to turn your fundraising into life-transforming experience for donors

Here’s a life truth you can run with: Gathering stuff doesn’t make you happy. But gathering experience does.

Many people — especially older people — know instinctively.

And that’s where we fundraisers come into the picture.

Charitable giving is an experience.

And you will do well when you make your fundraising the best experience possible.

Here are four ways to do that:

  1. Be specific. Always make your fundraising about something the donor can do. Make your calls to action about specific things. Not just supporting your cause or your organization. We know that donors rarely give to support organizations — they give to make good things happen. When you focus on those specific outcomes, your donor has an experience, not just a transaction.
  2. Be personal. Giving to a charity is more memorable and pleasurable when you’re aware that you’re connecting with people. Not just a faceless organization. There are three ways to be personal: 1. Talk to the donor by name; 2. Reveal your letter signer or spokesperson as a friendly human being with emotions; 3. Make it clear that the donation makes a difference for specific people.
  3. Create connection. Writing a check and putting it in an envelope is pretty boring. Look for ways to add to that connection. Give the donor a “get well” or “thinking of you” card they can sign and send back with their gift. Look for ways that it’s not just money, but connection when they give.
  4. Report back. If you don’t tell your donor what her giving made possible, she doesn’t know. Make sure you are continually reminding her that her giving makes a difference. Tell her the stories that will fill her heart with joy!


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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.