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What Do Your Donors Say About YOU?

By August 30, 2017January 16th, 2018Communication, Donor Engagement, Fundraising

If you want to raise more money.


My recommendation to anyone in the Executive or Development Director positions is to make time every day to call 3-5 long-time or first-time supporters and listen. Yes, it’s a lot of calls a week.

Make Time to Call Your Donors

What if those people you call felt seen, heard, and like they truly matter?

And when you invite them to make a gift or attend another event they give more, bring friends, and feel great about their relationship with you and your organization.

What to listen to?

• Invite them to tell you why they are passionate about your work.

• Invite them to tell you about someone they met that inspired them.

• Invite them to give you advice on how it feels to be a donor for your organization.

Whether you have 10, 100, 1000, or 100,000 financial supporters, the ONLY way to increase giving is to allow some, not all, some of those people to feel special and like the important investors they are.

Donors Are Not Your ATM

Image credit: Marc A. Pitman, The Fundraising Coach

Are you looking for people to be an ATM for you? You get some cash, then you go back and get some more.

Or, do you want them to feel like a superhero when they make their gift AND even in between gifts?

Worry less about how many donors you have and more about what they say about you and your organization.

I believe listening is the most overlooked fundraising skill.

Fundraising is a call to conversation and to relationship. NOT just a transaction.

Listen to Learn Something New

Don’t worry so much about taking notes. Being present with the person you are speaking to has become a rare occurrence. Just take a look around restaurants and notice all the people sitting together looking down at their phones.

In his How to Listen blog post, Seth Godin says, “The hardest step in better listening is. . . do it on purpose. Make the effort to actually be good at it.”

And this, “The best way to honor someone who has said something smart and useful is to say something back that is smart and useful. The other way to honor them is to go do something with what you learned.”

Go make your programs better.

Pay attention. Communicate about things your passionate supporter is interested in.

I say: Listen to learn something new, not to get something more.


A special shout out to my friends at Network for Good for inviting me to deliver a Nonprofit 911 webinar titled: “30 Ways to Make Your Donors Feel Like Superheroes.”

To view the replay or the slides check out these links: Slides and Recording


Recognizing your donors and keeping them engaged throughout the year takes more than strategy, it takes a good donor management system to help you stay organized. For a closer look at the software and coaching mentioned in the Nonprofit 911 webinar, click here to schedule a demo.



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