Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's not about you (It's about the donor, Part III)

Let me begin this article by pointing back humorously to an exchange between me and the now-defamed Holden Karnofsky in the comments on this Give & Take blog, where Holden was ironically arguing that fundraisers should not focus so much on selling their organizations as much as they should focus on trying to help people.

(Ironic, of course, since Holden was caught astroturfing)

Anyway, this is now at least the third article that I've written on this vital idea for fundraisers to understand:

"It's not about you, it's about the donor."

I was reminded of this today when reading Katya Anderson, whose wonderful blog offers some strong advice on how you can improve your fundraising programs, particularly your communications aimed at donors:

Four Questions to Always Answer for Your Donors

  1. Why me?

  2. Why now?

  3. What for?

  4. Who says?

Cultivating Donors Online: Becoming Donor-Centric


  • Use compelling human interest stories and attach them to donor experience.

  • Appeal to values you know your donors have.

  • Differentiate yourself and show what will happen if somebody takes action.

  • You need to be good at telling your story, the story of those who you have helped and the story of those who have helped you.

  • Use large and compelling imagery to connect emotionally with potential donors.

  • People can't relate to gigantic numbers and impending global doom. Boil down your message to human faces and stories that people can relate to. Remember, a puppy can outperform a billion people in Africa.

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