Starbucks advice to non-profit organizations

I was sitting in an annual campaign committee meeting a few weeks ago facilitating a discussion about the importance of donor stewardship. I shared some data that demonstrates 1) the typical non-profit organization (esp those entrenched in direct mail) turns over approximately 25% of its donor base every year and 2) the average donor stops giving after their fifth contribution. (Thank you to Penelope Burk of Cygnus Applied Research!)

So, imagine how dumbstruck I was when there was resistance to doing personal stewardship (e.g. calling donors, sitting down with donors, etc). Everyone was all aboard with newsletters, letters and emails, but no one wanted to talk to or interact directly with donors. It was almost as if doing so was a frightful thought.

Then the answer came to me. Sitting in front of me was my Starbucks cup of coffee. Printed on the outside of the cup sleeve was this simple piece of wisdom: “Stories are Gifts. SHARE”.

My holiday gift to the resource development and fundraising universe is this. Take a tip from our friends at Starbucks. Go talk to your donors … you are just sharing a “story” which is your gift to them this holiday season.

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