I suppose it’s human nature – our need to talk about ourselves.

Well, maybe it’s not universal across human nature… but it’s certainly a tendency or typical behavior for some people. Sociologist Charles Derber describes the trait of consistently turning a conversation back to yourself as a “conversational narcissist.” I know, that’s heavy. But you’ve seen it happen.

And in the non-profit space, we tend to do this same thing – we talk about our organization, how great we are, how effectively we are tackling the planet’s problems, and how great our system or process is.

And what does the donor care about?

Whether their giving made a difference!

And sure, they do care about your effectiveness and that you are doing the right things, etc. But fundamentally, it boils down to the question: “Did my gift make a difference?” That is what will keep their attention, their giving, and their loyalty to your cause.

We’ve all been talking about the quarterly fundraising effectiveness report and how non-profits are not acquiring as many donors. And those donors are giving less.

Why is that?

Fundamentally, the reason all this is happening is because the prospective donor did not know how they could make a difference, so they did not respond to your acquisition messaging. Or the current donor gave less than before because they did not know they made a difference. Or the donor just went away because they didn’t know they made a difference.

It is that basic. Who wants to give and feel like it made zero impact? No one that I know of!

But go ahead and talk about how great you are and that you do it better than anyone else. Just go ahead and do it and lose the donor. And hopefully you will see that that approach is a dead end.

Keep remembering that making a difference is the core driver for donor giving. Make sure all your messaging provides that information. And when you do that, you will see more donors acquired, more dollars given by the same donors, and more donors sticking with you.