Q: What is the best advice you would give to a new fundraiser?
A: Donors are heroes.
When I meet new professionals in the field of fundraising, I tell them that the hardest part of their job is earning a donor’s gift over and over again. Never take it for granted.
Sometimes, as fundraisers, we feel like donors should line up behind us, ready to support our cause. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
Donors are people of principle. They want to do good in the world. They want to live lives of value and meaning. It is our job as fundraisers to line up behind them and support their goals.
The best way to do that? Give them a problem to solve.
If, for example, you run a school or an after-school program or similar organization, tell donors that there are parents who can’t shoulder the cost of full tuition. That’s a problem that donors can wrap their arms around.
If you lead an organization that helps the social services organization, tell donors that there are people looking to make a true change in their lives.
If you fundraise for a civil services organization or a union, tell donors that membership fees alone don’t cover the expenses of a thriving community of like minded people.
Donors are heroes. They give to solve problems. They give to bring good into the world. They give because you line up behind them in support of their values.
If fundraisers spent less time talking about how amazing their organizations are and more time talking about how amazing their donors are, they would raise a LOT more money.
Not only do donors deserve it, but it’s just good fundraising sense as well.
Give donors a problem to solve. Tell them that you stand behind them in their mission to shine the light of goodness and kindness in every dark corner of the world. Tell them that when they donate, they transform into heroes.
Tell them these things, and you will have earned their donation.