It’s no secret that we all have our preferences about all kinds of things. Stop and think what you prefer in food, vacations, clothes, cars, friends, sports, communication, politics, movies, humor etc. It’s a huge list. And very specific.

Focus on that one word: SPECIFIC.

In the non-profit world, we work very hard at not being specific.

  • Don’t talk to the donor about specifics because they will want to give a restricted gift.
  • Don’t create specific, tailor-made communication to a donor because it will cost more to do that.
  • Don’t report on specific details of your program results because some donor will want to know more, and you’re not prepared to share more.
  • Don’t organize events along specific interest or program category groupings because it is too much trouble.

And the list goes on. We tend to hold the cards close to the chest just because it’s easier. We wouldn’t want to give the donor too much information. We might lose control. And that would be messy.

Think about this in the commercial world you live in. What if every service provider in every sector of your life (transportation, media, retail, education, medical, religion, etc.) totally ignored your preferences? How would you feel? What would you do?

More than likely, you would eventually leave every vendor in your life who ignored your preferences. And you would find ones that embraced and served them.

And that is what donors are doing, which is why I titled this blog “Ignore My Preferences – Plan to Fail.” Because if that is what you’re doing to your donors, then your donors will leave you and go find a better and more welcoming place to give their money to.

With technology and CRMs becoming more and more sophisticated, there is no excuse not to pay attention to your donor’s preferences. And if you continue to ignore them, then plan to fail.