Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's about the donor

In combing through the various feeds that I arrive in my inbox each morning, I came across this wonderful piece at the Donor Power Blog: "Is your fundraising a long, dull conversation?"

The blog cites a blog that is new to me -- Copyblogger, with their wonderful piece: "Why Great Copy is a Conversation, Not a Soliloquy."

(In reading a few of Copyblogger's other articles, I added it to my growing feed... alas, I could spend the entire day reading and getting nothing done! For shame, for shame, that we must all have day jobs...)

These articles reminded me of something very important:

It's not about you, Madam Fundraiser,
nor about you, Master Marketer;
it's about the donor.

Here is one simple way to improve your own approach to donors:

Look back at your most recent thank you letter to a donor. Circle every "I" or "we" (or the name of your organization) -- and then rewrite the letter so that you replace as many of those first person pronouns with the word "you," particularly when it's at the beginning of a sentence or a paragraph.

Force yourself to begin the letter with "You" instead of the boring "On behalf of the board, the staff and the thousands of starving, blind, crippled, poor orphans who somehow manage to wheel their way uphill, through the snow and into our office each day...."

See how the whole feel of the letter changes from being yet another bragadocious piece of fundraiser-marketer drivel to a relationship-building engagement piece.

Some organizations get it.

Some don't.

But sometimes, the ones that "get it" can get in trouble by taking it a bit too far.

Case in point: as a I blogged previously ("UT Southwestern: A Case Study in the Core Problem with Major Gift Fundraising"), UT Southwestern was recently torn up in local media because one of their more advanced fundraising practices leaked out: they have segmented their patient list so that top donors -- and even prospects -- are highlighted for "star treatment" when they arrive at the medical center.

Since I am sure that you, like me, was curious who made the list... I offer you this link to it (although I post the names below):

UT Southwestern list of high-profile people Dallas Morning News News for Dallas, Texas News for Dallas, Texas


UT Southwestern records information about well-to-do or well-known people to assure they receive select treatment during hospital visits. Here is a sampling of some of the people and their family members on the list, which was created in 2003, grouped by how they are known.


Vice President Dick Cheney (spouse)

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (husband)

Rep. Ken Marchant (various family members)

State Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway

Sen. Chris Harris (son)

State Rep. Tom Craddick (wife)

Former State Rep. Alvin Granoff

U.S. Dist. Judge Barefoot Sanders

State Rep. Tony Goolsby (spouse)

Former State Rep. Kenn George (spouse)

State Rep. Helen Giddings

Former Rep. Martin Frost

Former Secretary of Commerce Don Evans

Former Mayor Ron Kirk

Former Mayor Steve Bartlett

State Rep. Joe Driver

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

Former Sen. Mike Moncrief (various family members), current Fort Worth mayor

Former Speaker of the House Gib Lewis (spouse)

Former Ambassador Robert Strauss (various family members)

Former Mayor Starke Taylor (family members and previous family members)

Former State Rep. Steve Wolens (mother, family members)

Former Mayor Laura Miller (listed as Laura Wolens, Dallas mayor 2002)

Former State Rep. James Horn (family members)

State Sen. Royce West

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

Former Dallas Stars owner Norm Green

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley

Former Cowboys wide receiver Lance Rentzel

Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks

Former baseball player Mickey Mantle's family

Former Cowboys coach Tom Landry's family

Former Texas Rangers coach Bobby Jones

Former University of Texas football coach Darrell K. Royal

Former Dallas Mavericks general manager Norm Sonju

Astros owner Drayton McLane

Dean Fearing

Shannon Wynne

Phil Vaccaro

Kevin Ascolese

Patrick Esquerre

Scott Ginsburg

Jim Moroney, publisher of The Dallas Morning News (and family)

Bob Mong, editor of The Dallas Morning News (spouse)

Robert Miller, columnist at The Dallas Morning News

Robert Decherd, chief executive officer and chairman of Belo Corp. (and family)

Wick Allison, publisher and editor of D Magazine

Prudence Mackintosh, contributor to D Magazine and Texas Monthly

Alan Peppard, columnist at The Dallas Morning News

Norm Hitzges, host for KTCK-AM (1310) (and spouse)

John Albers, chief executive of Fairfield Enterprises

Ebby Halliday, founder of Ebby Halliday Realtors

Ron Anderson, president and chief executive of Parkland Health & Hospital System

Bruce Brookshire, owner of Brookshire Grocery Corp.

Don Buchholz, chairman SWS Group

Donald Carty, former chief executive of American Airlines (and family)

Comer Cottrell, founder of Pro-line International

Robert Crandall, former chief executive of American Airlines

Trammell Crow, developer

Thomas Engibous, chief executive of Texas Instruments

Jinger Heath, founder of BeautiControl.

Irvin Levy, chief executive of National Chemsearch

Kathleen Mason, chief executive of Tuesday Morning

Morton Myerson, chief executive of 2M Cos. (and family)

Lonnie Pilgrim, chairman of Pilgrim's Pride Corp.

Timothy Wallace, chief executive of Trinity Industries

Magdalena Abakanowicz, sculptor

Jeremy Adams, screenwriter

Edith Baker, gallery owner

Emanuel Borok, concert violinist

Richard Hamburger, former executive director of Dallas Theatre Center

Pavlo Hunka, visiting Dallas Opera performer

Hilda Alsabrook, former Junior League president

Ann Corrigan, Sweetheart Ball, Crystal Charity Ball

Linda Gibbons, Sweetheart Ball

Marguerite Kirk, author

Marylyn Kelso, Cattle Baron's Ball

Jerry Naylor, former lead singer of Buddy Holly & The Crickets

What do you think? Please click the COMMENTS button below.