Richard and I are always talking to you about reporting back to your donor on the impact their gifts are making, right? We do this because failing to report back is still the number one reason why donors stop giving.

In our experience, one key element to reporting back on impact is the type of relationship you have with your program staff. These are the people on the front lines that carry out the mission of your organization. And if you don’t have a solid relationship with the program team, you’ll find it difficult to produce quality program “impact reports” to your donors.

But the relationship you have with program staff has to be a two-way street. You can’t just expect program to supply you with the information you need to report back to donors without giving them context AND your own donor impact report.

Yes. You heard me right.

Great frontline fundraisers build solid relationships with program folks. Part of building that relationship is reporting back to program what donors are thinking and saying about the work they’re doing. It also involves reporting what impact their work is making on the donor.

Yes, the donor is making an impact on your organization. But your organization is making an impact on the donor, too!

So, it’s not just about getting stories “from the field” so that your donors can be inspired by the work that your organization is carrying out. Your program staff also has to hear stories. Stories about why donors are giving, what they think about the impact your programs are making, and how that affects the life of your donor.

You see how this would benefit your program staff? And, quite frankly, not just your program staff. To be sure, this would benefit your entire staff.

Major donors that are investing in your organization want to know your staff. They want to know how they carry out the mission and how creative they are. Not to mention, major donors want to know why your staff is motivated to do this work. At the same time, your staff want to know similar things about the donors that are funding the work.

Richard and I will guarantee you that if you can report back to program folks about the impact your organization is having on donors, they will be much more willing to report back to donors the impact that your mission is having on making the world a better place to live.


This post originally appeared on the Passionate Giving Blog on April 19, 2021.