Who’s Driving?

Donor centered giving, what does it mean?  Some say it’s as simple as keeping your donors connected with your agencies work and letting them know that their contribution is meaningful and significant.  While this is important, donor centered giving seeks a much larger modification in your fundraising thinking.

Simply put, it’s not about you; it’s about your donor. It’s not about the extra hours you spend each week serving clients, or the number of meals you serve to those in need, or the amount of students you are able to accommodate in your classroom.  It’s about the story of a client’s life that was changed forever, and how that change was facilitated by your donor’s giving and your donors deepening sense of responsibility to commit to that change.

Here are four tips to empower your donors:

  1. Take a look at your visual messaging.  Are your photos only of staff members with clients?  Try instead to have photos of donors with clients. The donors reading your newsletter will imagine themselves as an integral part of your agency.
  1. Watch your language! I recently saw a nonprofit boast in a newsletter that it distributed over 1,000 Thanksgiving turkeys for families in need.  An approach that puts the donor in the driver’s seat would say, “Your contribution of $100 provided 10 Thanksgiving turkeys for families in need.” Or, even, “You can help ten families right now have their own Thanksgiving turkey by giving $100.”
  1. Donors do connect with the stories of your clients.  One way to do this is to have five or so, two minute, client profiles on your website; with clients talking about the impact your donors have had in their own words.
  1. Create tabs on your website, which help the donor navigate different ways to be involved.  “Click here to Volunteer” or “Meet Our Supporters” or “Our Organization & You.”

What has worked for you to empower donors to lead? Let us know by leaving your comments at the blog.

Michael read tons of appeal letters as part of his work at LAPA. Contact him for a free critique of your next appeal at [email protected]

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