You can call it #donorlove, you can call it donor-centred, you can call it whatever you want. But Jen and I have discovered, as we travel around and speak with our fundraising friends, that very few of you (or them) are following these 7 very easy—but not simple—principles of #donorlove.
Principle 1: You make your donor the hero. Every day. Every DM piece. Every email. Give them the opportunity to fix the world. They WANT to help. They WANT to fix something. They WANT to make an impact. Like Jen always says, it’s that simple but critical shift from talking about “what we do” to “what you make possible”.
Principle 2: Share amazing and inspiring stories. Every time your beloved donor hears from you, you want them to be re-engaged, re-energized and fall in love with you all over again. Your stories should provoke an emotional response in your donor.
Principle 3: Connect to your donors values and emotions. Bottom line: money follows value. Think about your organization, think about that 24 hours before it existed. It was founded, likely, out of the desire by a few restless and innovative people to create change, to fix something. Your donors today hold those same values. It is through your shared values that your organization can give your donors a powerful sense of belonging.
Principle 4: Falling – and staying – in love. Good donor care is a courtship. A relationship. What metrics do you use to know when it is time for a second date? To go steady? Get engaged? Have you thought about your #donorlove story from the point of view of your donor? When are you surprising them? When are you asking for help? How are getting to know them better?
Principle 5: Ask for one thing. Donors want to help fix something and feel really good about it. So, what’s the problem and how can your donor be the solution? You need to make it easy and make it feel good! (In other words, scrap that coupon with the 28 check boxes and 7-point type, please!)
Principle 6: Who (or what) is the right voice for your story? You have the privilege and responsibility to speak on behalf of a community of like-minded citizens. It’s also your job to echo what they feel passionate about and give them a chance to take action for what they believe. So, what, exactly, are you asking for AND who is the right voice for that question?
Principle 7: Say thanks with passion. Not “On behalf of…”. Not “We received your cheque on…”. Not “Yours sincerely…”. Say thanks with passion! To borrow Tom Ahern’s phrase, “pour love juice all over it!” Use emotion! Creativity! It’s not the job of your executive director or the director of development—everyone should have a hand in gratitude. But whoever is doing it, whenever they may be doing it—please make sure they do it with real passion.