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In the first book that Richard and I wrote, It’s Not JUST About the Money, I stated that front-line fundraisers are “brokers of love.” 

What I meant is that as a front-line fundraiser, your work is ultimately to know your donor’s passions and interests and match that with a specific program or project that your organization facilitates to make the world a better place. 

At that moment when the donor agrees to a gift, not only is a need alleviated, but the donor finds joy. It’s an act of love. And you make it happen.

But, of course, donor gifts are not the only time that we see love in philanthropy. “Loving your donors” is a philosophy that impacts your planning, your communication, and every interaction you have with donors.

At its core, “loving your donor” means really getting to know what they are passionate about –and why. It’s about knowing their story. It’s about thanking a donor properly and reporting back on impact in a way that is meaningful to them. 

It’s about investing your time to remember significant events in your donor’s life, and to understand those things that are important to them so that you can show your donor that they are known.

And loving your donor doesn’t always mean a grand gesture or public recognition. In fact, most donors don’t desire that. A simple note of thanks or remembrance is all it takes. 

What’s absolutely amazing to Richard and me, however, is that these simple actions are quite rare. I feel we have these expectations of our donors that they’ll just give, and as long as I thank them for that gift afterward, it’s good. 

You could compare it to a relationship with a partner or spouse. At first, we have all that new relationship energy, and we’re so good about showing acts of kindness and love. Then, over time, if we don’t put work into it, we lose all that energy and forget to show how we care, yet we still have an expectation that they will be around forever. 

And many of us know that is not true.

As a front-line fundraiser, those little acts of love toward your donor are very meaningful. Over time, showing up in this way will create trust, promote a sense of goodwill toward your organization and its mission, and ultimately inspire more love from your donor.

Always remember, you are a broker of love.

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