What Donors (Really) Want

organization needs

Most of the conversation around fundraising concerns the needs of nonprofits.  What your organization needs to feed hungry people.  What your organization needs to provide benefits for at risk youth.  What your organization needs to produce a concert or performance that will inspire the audience.  And the list goes on.

Sometimes we hear a discussion of what your donors might need.   It’s too often assumed that donors need recognition.  They need trophies.  They need the gift basket and discount weekend from your fundraising gala.

We might hear a discussion related to being “donor-centered.”  Presumably this is to put our attention on donors rather than ourselves.  But attention to what end?  Almost always, being “donor-centered” is seen as a means to get larger, more frequent gifts.

Don’t’ get me wrong, growing your fundraising program is not a bad thing.

Almost never do you hear a discussion as to what your donors want, however.  This lack of attention to what donors want is the primary cause of far too many nonprofits being on the financial edge.  Yes, really.

Donors are making investments.  They’re looking for those investments to create assets.  Assets of values reinforced, and visions made reality.  Donor visions, that is.

Most nonprofits—especially the small ones—are stressed by living on the edge—and so see the money, which donors’ gifts provide, as the way to relieve that stress.  In the short run, it may.  In the long run, the assets donors are looking for aren’t built.

The result?  Your organization is back on the edge with the added problem of an unhappy donor.  The investor.  Donors never make an investment in your organization to relieve stress.  They make investments to build assets—the intangible kind.  The ones they define.

Is it any wonder so many nonprofits are in a perpetual state of financial stress?  That they are always on the edge?

Principle 1 of The Eight Principles™ is Donors are the Drivers®.  Donors drive philanthropy through their investments.  You might divert them down a detour once, but only once.

Deliver on the assets they’re looking for and have them forever.

Now that’s a sustainable fundraising idea.

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