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The 4 Pillars of Donor Love That Can Transform Your Fundraising

What exactly is Donor Love?

It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot these days.

It might sound like some kind of flower-power, flaky magic, wishful thinking term that doesn’t mean much at all.

That’s not it. It’s a real thing. Proven to be effective at raising funds.

Or, to hear what some are saying, you might think Donor Love means “fundraising that makes us fundraisers feel good.”

That’s not it. In fact that is pretty much the exact opposite of Donor Love.

Donor Love is a set of tactics aimed at winning the donor over by putting her at the center of the story. It’s honoring, thanking, and listening to the donor.

And in times of crisis, it’s more important than ever.

But before it’s tactics, Donor Love must be an attitude. A mindset.

Donor Love is not unlike “being in love.” You’ve been there. When you are in love, your love is right there, all the time, connected to everything you do. It guides your thinking and behavior. It causes you to do things you might not normally do.

When you have Donor Love in your heart and mind, you can invent amazing new ways to connect with your donors.

Here are some thoughts to make donor love part of your mindset:

  1. We are not entitled to donor support

It’s unfortunate that a sense of entitlement hovers in the background of a lot of poor fundraising. There’s a belief that donors should give because our cause is important. No donor is obligated to support your organization. In fact, donors are increasingly skeptical and choosy about which organizations they will donate to. It’s your job to win each donor over, showing how giving to your organization matters to her.

  1. The donor is the hero of every fundraising story you tell

 When we tell stories about how amazing our organization is, we miss the real point. Donors want us to be amazing. It’s really part of the price of admission to fundraising. But they give because they are amazing. So be amazing — but make sure your fundraising shows the donor that you are a tool for her amazingness. That changes everything! And raises more money.

  1. Donors don’t give because we are awesome; they donate because they are awesome

The job of a true Donor-Love fundraiser is to remind the donor how awesome she is and give her the opportunity to put her awesomeness to work through your organization. Or, to put it as Mark Phillips of Bluefrog put it, “She is not one of your donors. You are one of her charities.” This little bit of humility will make you a much more persuasive fundraiser.

  1. Donors want to give

This might be the most radical and important pillar of Donor Love. Too many fundraisers seem to think “not bothering” donors by going silent on them is a great way to treat donors.  Is there any other functional human relationship that works like that? Love is a two-way street. Remember that the donor gets as much out of the relationship as we do. Often, they get a lot more, especially when we are treating them with love and respect.

Those are pillars of Donor Love.

What about the tactics?

There’s more — a lot more — about that in my Moceanic online workshop, Donor Love Made Practical. It’s all about the techniques of Donor Love. But it’s also about the mindset. Donor Love Made Practical is available exclusively for members of The Fundraisingology Lab. It’s just one of the many members-only online courses, practical resources, and community connections available in the Lab. Find out more about joining The Fundraisingology Lab here.

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