I often run into fundraisers who somehow get it in their heads that “their” donors only support their organization.  Now I know if they were being honest and really thought about it,  they would admit that this is not true, but emotionally they act like their donors couldn’t possibly support other causes.
This is a problem.  I call it the monopoly mentality.  No, not the game Monopoly, but the business paradigm that your organization is the “only game in town” and you have no competition.
Why is this a problem?
Because it makes you lazy and you take advantage of a donor’s good will and passion for your cause.
Your mindset should instead be, “There are thousands of organizations out there who would love to have my donor support their cause.  What am I going to do today to win the heart of my donor?”
If you have that mindset, you will be awesome…and your donors will feel like they are actually making a difference in the world through the work of your organization.  This is the place you want to be  with your donors.
So, how do you do this?  Are you ready?  Are you really ready?  I hope so, because it demands a lot of passion, creativity and hard work on your part to pull it off.

  1. Find out everything you can about your donor.  Yes, every one of them.  Find out where they live, shop, work, breathe.  I’m not talking about stalking, I’m talking about empathy.  What?  Yes, you must empathize with your donor.  Empathy really is about being able to walk in someone else’s shoes and understand where they are coming from.  It’s about letting go of judgments and prejudices and being open to who they are.
  2. Be proactive in communicating information.  Major donors want to know what is happening at your organization before the general public.  Always keep that in mind.  If the President or Executive Director resigns, you are getting on the phone right away to discuss it.  If an incredible discovery happens, your donors should know before the press does.  You get what I’m talking about.  People, there are horror stories out there about major donors who are left out of the communication loop and it’s not been a pretty result.  Be always vigilant about this.
  3. Surprise your donors.  Think about this from your own personal standpoint.  I can almost bet you that the last great customer service story you had involved  a situation where you were surprised by the service.  For example, you go to your favorite restaurant and the chef comes out and makes you a special dish, on the house, “just because you are such a great customer.”  Do you think you’ll go back again and again?  Of course you will.  It’s the same concept with your donors.  Figure out what they are interested in and provide them some inside information.  Clip out an article they would enjoy and mail it to them.  No, NOT e-mail…actually cut it out and mail it to them.  What an impression.  Your donors are human…we all love to be surprised and taken care of.

Okay, then. On Friday I’ll have more ideas for you about how to serve your donors outrageously.  I’ll also have some inspiring words to share.
Are you pumped up?