Your Donors Are Number One


Do you feel as if nonprofit organizations care about you as a donor?  Sometimes it seems like they don’t.

Some organizations brag too much about themselves.  I recently received an appeal letter from an organization that specializes in cancer research and treatment. In the first two paragraphs, they emphasize how they’re “a leading force in caring for adults and children battling cancer.”  That they’re a world leader in cancer research and ranked number one….

This organization does do amazing work, and if I were choosing a place to receive treatment, then this would matter much more.  But as a donor and someone who was drawn to this cause because I lost three family members to cancer in the past few years, I want I want to hear how I’m helping them make a difference.

Your organization is not number one.  Your donors are number one.

Always be donor-centered

I don’t mean to single out this particular organization because they’re not the only guilty party. Many organizations focus too much on themselves and not on their donors.

You see this often in a donor newsletter.  This is supposed to be a great way to engage with donors.  Yet many newsletters feature articles on the executive director receiving an award or a profile of a board member that focuses on her credentials and not on any personal connections she has to that cause.  Rarely is there anything thanking donors and letting them know they’re number one.

How you can do it

It’s not hard to be donor-centered, but you need to make a conscious effort to do it.

Instead of sending the same old appeal letters and thank you letters, take a good, hard look at the content.

  • Are you focused on your donors?
  • Are you showering them with gratitude?
  • Are you letting them know how THEY are helping you make a difference?
  • Are you letting them know they’re number one?

Your newsletters and updates also need to show your donors how they are helping you make a difference.  Share success stories such as – Thanks to donors like you, Steven doesn’t have to live in a shelter anymore and has a place to call home.

Always write to the donor and refer to them as you.  Make sure all your donor communications use the word you much more than we.  How to Perform the “You” Test for Donor-Centered Communications – Do You Pass?

What do your donors want?

Send your donors a short survey to find out what types of things they want to hear from you. Chances are it’s success stories and other ways they can continue to help you make a difference.

Donors also want to feel good about supporting your organization. Let them know they’re number one.

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