Thinking of donors as human beings

Words like targets, stewardship, retain, pipeline, recurring gifts are used to refer to donors.

Use of these words gets in the way of creating authentic relationships with donors and real people who care about the mission.

Fundraisers are pushed to get the money, not build relationships based on the mission. People who make gifts to join in support of a mission are recognized for the amount of their gift, not for the long commitment to the mission.

A result of donors not focusing on the donor as a human being is one of the reasons they don’t renew.  When we don’t prioritize renewal the donor and the organization/mission miss an opportunity.  Renewing donors create a community of support that strengthens the work of the mission.  And it enables the donors to be connected and belong with people who care about the same thing they do.

This change is harder than you think.  Being interested in the donor, learning why they care, what they want to know, or what they have to share in addition to money is new for fundraisers.  We work in a culture that expects us to raise money not deepen donors connection with the mission.

Look again at the words in the first sentence. 

Using these words keeps us from looking at  donors as humans. What if we instead used:  interested people, relationship, renew, list of of donors, potential donors,  or renewing donors.  It is a beginning to see donors as humans not money. 

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