What is the ‘yes’ your donor can offer?

I recently listened to a Life Kit segment on NPR’s All Things Considered program on the topic of tips for lending money to friends and family. The hot take was, don’t. It can complicate relationships. Well, yes. The guests talked about not giving money if your own needs aren’t met. Check. Don’t have savings? Don’t lend money. Check.

Then the conversation moved onto ways to help other than with cash. They suggested alternative ways to lend support, like maybe you can babysit for a few weekends. Or help by working out a budget. Basically asking the question: “What is the ‘yes’ you can offer?”

What a great way to pivot the focus.

So imagine you’re talking with a donor who wants to give, but it’s out of their reach right now. Or maybe they’ve supported a project for years, but they were laid off recently. Maybe they are a faithful, monthly donor, but can’t increase their giving at the moment. Or… well, I’m sure you can create a whole list of situations.

So ask yourself, what is the ‘yes’ that is possible for that donor with your organization?

  • Do you have an upcoming event and you’d love for someone to help the photographer get photos that matter most?
  • Maybe there’s a staff appreciation day coming up and you could use help setting the room up.
  • Or there is a data entry project that has been lingering for months – is there someone willing to give time to complete that?
  • Perhaps you want to take a fresh approach to your budgeting and forecasting process – is there a donor with finance skills that may want to help?
  • Perhaps an expense offsetting task, like the graphic design for a specific project?

I know managing volunteers can be a whole thing in itself. And I’ve seen volunteers frustrated by offering to help and then it just never comes together or they arrive and the organization isn’t ready, so they feel their time was not valued.

So only do this if you can deliver. But the crux of this is to think of helping your donor continue to say YES in ways beyond writing a check.

– Diana S. Frazier, Senior Client Experience Leader

Diana Frazier is a Senior Client Experience Leader at Veritus Group. With over 32 years of experience in the non-profit sector, Diana has helped organizations meet strategic objectives through fund and product development, marketing, and operations management. She has worked on staff or as a consultant in a wide range of non-profits including print and media organizations, missions, higher education, health, crisis counseling, and churches.