Most of what you’re telling your donor, they do NOT care about. Your annual fundraising goals. The new building you need to buy or rent. The money you need to hire additional staff. Your overhead percentage. The number of offices you have or counties or countries you’re in.
That’s not what inspires them to give to your organization.
This is something that’s so hard for non-profit insiders to understand and keep focused on – that donors care about solving problems. Societal problems. Problems THEY are interested in, not the ones you want to promote to them. Not your organizational challenges. They care about broader, societal issues – those situations on the planet that they have a passion for.
But what are we doing? We’re yakking about us: our needs. Our situation. Our approach.

And that’s why the donor won’t respond to your email or your letter or your phone call or text. Because they don’t care about what you’re saying. It doesn’t register with them. It doesn’t capture their heart.

Right now, as you’re reading this, think about the donors on your caseload who aren’t responding to your inquiries and communication. Just think about them one at a time. And stop and ask yourself: “What am I asking them to care about?” In your honest answer to the question, you’ll discover the reason for their silence. They aren’t responding because they don’t care about what you’re saying. It has no value to them because you haven’t explained it in terms that connect to their passions and interests.

You and I both know how this works because we do the same thing. We pay attention to things we value. And we ignore those things we don’t value. Simple.
So, what are you going to do as we enter a new year with your caseload donors? Are you going to keep up the same old organization-focused asks of last year? Or are you going to pay attention to what each of your donors values?
Jeff and I suggest you do the latter, because it will result in a successful, meaningful and authentic connection with your donor. And that’s what you want. It’s also what your donor wants.
When you pay attention to this very simple yet profound truth, it will change how you do things.

This post originally appeared on the Passionate Giving Blog on October 14, 2020.