I recently had lunch with a donor to a number of small nonprofits in the city. I've gotten to know this donor, first through a client but we have since become friends. This individual gives to a number of small nonprofits and has had a huge diversity of experience as a donor. Together, we love dissecting the various asks he's received and talking about the areas in which he feels he has the most impact.
One thing struck me at our most recent lunch. There are two kinds of donations he makes.
The first is perhaps what most people think of when they think of fundraising - the obligatory contribution. These are from organizations he feels obligated to support because of one reason or another. Someone invited him to an event. They know how to tap into his guilt. He's given for a long time and doesn't feel like he can stop, even though he wants to.
Yuck! I wouldn't want to fundraise if I knew my donors felt this way. And guess what - those organizations are going to lose his support one day soon.
The second is the type of donation that is a pleasure. It is an act of love because he is inspired by the work and knows he is part of meaningful change. He cares deeply about the cause and the organization keeps him updated on the progress, so he knows he's making an impact. He doesn't expect the world to change overnight, but he feels like there is impact.
Yes! This is the fundraising I practice. That I want you to practice too. So tell me, do your donors love giving to you?