What Donors Want—and we often don’t offer

As fundraisers, we often rack our brains to come up with new/clever/effective ways we can get our donors to give.  Everything from outsized recognition and lavish dinners to even discounted vacations bought at auctions.  What our donors really want, however, is another matter.

The most recent Cygnus Donor Survey is out and the results tell a sad story.  While many charities are pursuing what they think will flip-the-switch for a donor they rarely ask donors what they are really looking for.

It turns out that donors—like investors—are not looking for the premium toaster, those airline miles or even the brass plaque on the donors’ wall.  What they REALLY want is timely, meaningful information on how their gifts were used and the outcomes—the manner in which lives have been changed—that have resulted.

It’s not rocket science.  Think “investing” not “sales.”

Larry C. Johnson

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