Beware of Bigfoot—the average donor

boxiconWe’re all aware of the possible existence of a prehistoric creature of mythic proportions that purportedly roams the forests of North America. There are those among us who ardently believe in the existence of this creature and there are those of us who do not. Finally there are a many of us who simply do not care.

Think about the concept of the “average donor.” Does such a creature really exist? Most of us in the nonprofit community would like to believe that is does. By doing so we make our job of identifying and reaching out to those who might support us so much easier. What a relief!

For all of their power and promise, CRM systems have one very real shortcoming. They deal in numbers. People are not numbers. Investors are not numbers—they’re people.
This is not to say that CRM’s aren’t useful for they are extremely useful. They are, in many ways, the single most powerful leveling force in fundraising. The rub comes when we succumb to the tyranny of the “average.” The aphorism here is “the right tool for the right job.”

There is no “average” donor. There are ideal donors, those what will never be our contributors and, of course, the mythic “average” donor. That’s the person who is the numerical mean of “ideal” and “never-will-be.” Let’s not waste our time trying to find them.

Take the time—and invest the resources—to determine what your ideal donor really looks like then use the people and information at hand to plan on how to engage that individual.
Principle 4 of The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Learn & Plan™. They’re waiting for you out there!

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