You know how Richard and I are always reminding you to make sure you really know your donors. We want to make sure you know how they like to be communicated with, what their passions and interests are and why they have them and that you use all of that information to inform your goals, plans, and stewardship for them.

Well, a big thing we learned during this pandemic is that even when you think you KNOW your donors, maybe you don’t.

Let me explain.

When the pandemic hit us all back in March of 2020, you were forced to rethink how you communicate with your donors – and in many ways, your strategy for your donors may have changed radically.

What we learned very quickly from the mid, major and planned giving officers we work with is that donors were behaving completely differently. Donors who had said they never wanted to talk on the phone, were talking on the phone. Donors were reaching out TO major gift officers through email. And donors that were hard to get a meeting with all of a sudden were fine doing Zoom calls.

Another thing for many donors is that some of their passions and interests changed too. We had some major gift officers put out surveys to their donors – donors who they thought they really knew – and the responses from donors showed that they actually had much different passions and interests and communication preferences then the MGOs thought.

So, here’s the takeaway, now that it’s still early in 2021. For those donors who have been in your portfolio for a long time and you THINK you know them, go back and find out if things have changed. (Tweet it!)

Don’t assume that just because a donor only wanted to meet with you face to face, that today, it’s still the case. Or, if a donor had a certain passion about one of your programs, perhaps it’s different now. I mean, when you think about it, it makes sense, right?

People grow and change.

Therefore, your donors may be changing too. In fact, count on it. This could be a reason you’ve hit a roadblock with a donor. You’re thinking, “Gosh, this donor always responds to me when I brought up this project, but now they won’t engage.”

It may be that the donor has changed. Find out. Always continue to stay in tune with your donor’s preferences. By doing this, you’ll be serving them outrageously.