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The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Donors

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For the last few weeks, I’ve been asking every fundraiser I’ve talked to one strange question:  How clean are your closets right now?

The weird thing is, the majority tell me their closets are cleaner than they’ve been in years.

There’s a reason so many closets are clean right now. It’s because so many of us are seeking ways to “take control” during these uncertain times. Even straightening up your closet gives you that much-needed sense of control!

I’m not telling you this because I think you ought to go clean your closets (though I know there’s a good chance you already have).

I’m bringing it up because your donors are in the same boat as you and me.

They need to do things that help them “take control.”

And donating to your organization does exactly that for them!

That’s why fundraisers who have been fielding strong, relevant and urgent crisis fundraising campaigns are seeing record levels of giving.

It’s not because they’re amazing fundraisers (though most of them are indeed amazing fundraisers).

It’s because donors need to give.

Donors always need to give, but that need to give rises to higher levels when things are uncertain and frightening.

Remember, charitable giving releases dopamine in the brain. That’s a pleasure/reward/motivation hormone and neurotransmitter. It basically reassures you, makes you feel good, and gives you confidence and motivation (among other things). This is why charitable giving is as important to who we are and how we navigate our lives as eating and sex.

Especially during hard times.

So, if you have an opinionated board member or boss who confidently says we shouldn’t be asking people for funds right now in this time of uncertainty — that doing so is insensitive, even cruel ….

That person has it exactly wrong.

Dramatically, horribly wrong.

If you are not giving your donors the opportunity to take a little bit control by supporting your cause, you are failing them in a very real sense. Remember, they’re in this for the same reason you are: To support your cause which needs them all the time… but especially now.

I’m not too worried about your donors; if you aren’t there for them, they’ll find someone else to support.

But really — is that the way your relationship with your donors should be?

Please. If you’re not connecting with donors these days, have an adult conversation about it within your organization. See if you can bring your leaders to the important truth about fundraising:

When someone donates to you, you have not taken something from them, leaving them slightly impoverished. You have given them something of incalculable value. Most likely, they get more out of the transaction than you do!

So get busy with the fundraising. Feel good about it. Your donors will.

Struggling with leaders who just don’t get fundraising? Post your story on our free Facebook community, the Smart Fundraisers Forum. Or leave a comment below. You have friends who might be able to help!

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