Rethinking the Culture of Philanthropy with Donors Renewing at 90%

Who doesn’t want donors to renew their giving. What keeps it from happening?

When money is raised and goals are met without many donors renewing, the pressure to increase donor renewal is low. The culture of fundraising is focused on getting money and the experience of giving for the donor is that of making a random gift of kindness. With the lack of meaningful connections donors have little motivation to renew.

Is it possible that donor renewal doesn’t really matter that much?

Donor renewal is most often possible when relationships are real and have meaning. When donors can be inspired by the organization’s impact on a community need and feel linked to it. People want to renewto stay connected. If organizational leaders could develop ways for donors to be joined with program successes, it would take the actual giving experience away from the money into a shared experience. Money is not what created the connection between the leader and donor. Money is not what creates inspiration for a donor to renew.

Neither does “I hate to ask for money” often said by an organization’s leaders and volunteers. When asked why a variety of answers are provided. Some people will tell you that they believe asking is like begging. Some volunteers when they ask for money report feeling there is nothing given in exchange for the donor’s gift. Asking for money can feel one-sided and perhaps unfair.

Beliefs we have about money, asking, relationship building, and receiving can activate uncomfortable feelings when we ask for money. Could we create an environment that feels more comfortable? Can we enable the lessons asker and the potential donor to experience a real exchangea connection that continues and inspires a renewing gifts?

Professionals, executives, and leaders take their jobs because of the work and mission of the organization and become donors. Interested people become donors to connect with the work and share in serving their community. Real contact before the gift is critical to real relationship building. It becomes an environment of shared work and the money makes it possible.

A relationship is more than a strategy to get a gift.

Can you imagine the impact a 95% renewal of donors would have on the culture of philanthropy in your organization? What if renewal and connection were celebrated instead of money?

If you would like to explore what this might mean for your organization contact me for a no-cost consultation. When we change the way we think about things; the way we feel about things changes.