From the mouths of donors: Part 2

After more than 60 posts to this blog over the last few months, I’ve decided that many of you are probably tired of hearing me pontificate day-in-and-day-out. So, this week I am changing things up a little bit. Last week I launched an anonymous online survey via various social media channels and my email address book. I’ve picked four really awesome responses to share with you this week that I think provide excellent lessons for non-profit and fundraising professionals. Enjoy!!!

Again … the survey was anonymous because I wanted the truth, the whole truth and nothing up the truth. Here is what the today’s highlighted survey respondent said:

Question: Using the comment box below, please write a paragraph or two answering some of the following questions. Of the charities to whom you currently donate money, which one is your favorite?  How did you first learn about this charity? Why did you make that first contribution? Why are you still contributing? How do you know that your contribution is making a difference? What does the charity do to demonstrate it is having an impact?

Answer:  My favorite Charity is Boys & Girls Club of Elgin.  I am still contributing to BGCE because they keep the kids off of my lawn.

Question: Understanding that these are tough economic times and no donor’s contribution ever should be taken for granted, what does your favorite charity need to do (or show you) in order to renew your support and/or increase the size of your contribution?

Answer: I know it is a buzz word, but “sustainability” [is something I want to see in order for my gift to be renewed].  I mean that in a holistic sense.  Can they find the next great CEO, can they keep up the good fundraising work, and can they take their fundraising to the next level?

Hmmm … how interesting that this donor is looking at their charitable contribution as an investment? Here is what struck me about these responses:

  1. I am reminded that every donor has a unique reason for giving, and it doesn’t always match-up with your marketing and stewardship messages. Here is where listening to your donors might allow you to become a more donor-centered organization. I bet this donor would love to see some outcomes data on how after-school programming reduces juvenile delinquency and improves school behavior and performance.
  2. In this donor’s second response, I am reminded that one reason organizations that are seen as being “poorly run” (and I am looking at both board and staff) don’t do as well with fundraising because donors don’t like to throw their money away.

How does your organization demonstrate sustainability to donors?  What tools do you use to measure and then report your organization’s health? Do you track how successful these tools are? If so, how did you do that? Please use the comment box below to share because we can learn from each other.

Here is to your health!

Erik Anderson
Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847