Perhaps one of the greatest gifts any donor can give a nonprofit is their gift of self. In this day in time with nearly every aspect of our daily lives being so impersonal and shielded, the average person finds it difficult to accept a genuine gift from the heart.
Likewise, many nonprofits have become desensitized to the true nature of giving.
When a donor finds your organization and they in turn give in an unselfish manner are you effectively communicating that their donation makes a difference or are you being silent, which in the donor’s ears is truly deafening.
Time is a precious commodity that we all don’t really realize how valuable it is until we have no more time left. Understanding that a person’s time has great value and thanking someone for their gift of time is yet another way to continue to thank the donor!
Likewise, responding to donation, no matter the size, is one of the most important jobs a nonprofit must accomplish. It takes money to run a program, to care for clients, to keep the doors open, to pay salaries. Unfortunately many executive directors and board members spend more time each morning brushing their teeth than making sure that their donors are well fed.
So how do you feed your donors? What are their needs? First and foremost no matter how hard people try you cannot fake very long the act of being sincere! People gravitate to individuals who are kind and compassionate and sincere.
When a person gets married or is in a serious relationship how they treat the ones they love sometimes is good and sometimes bad. However, both know that regardless of how the day goes there is a deep and hopefully lasting commitment, agreed to by both, that will withstand the trials of life.
While you might not see yourself as being married to your donor, you are in fact dependent on their support. This support is a two way street! The staff and board that represent the organization need to be able to show that the dollars given are in fact being spent wisely. Furthermore, the donor needs to be shown that his or her investment is seeing a positive return. Your ability to communicate is a real key but more importantly you need to understand that communication is not simply putting out a newsletter or sending an email but it involves finding out how your donor “actually hears” or if he or she in fact is really paying attention to what you are saying.
If the truth be known I would venture to guess that most nonprofits base their marketing efforts solely on how much it costs versus if the message will be delivered effectively!
Had you rather send out a bulk email to 100 donors that may or may not be read realizing that this costs little to no money or would you rather take the same amount of time and visit five of your top donors and sit to learn from them what they think you need to do to improve your services!
As a nonprofit you need to have the ability to answer this question. Explain how the dollars a donor gives equals a positive result that is long lasting. If you can answer this then you must be able to also deliver this basic message over and over again. Why you might ask?
What do you think would happen if the company that sold Pringles Potato Chips dropped all their advertising and did away with any colorful packaging and simply just put the product on the shelf?
Is this what most nonprofits seem to be doing on a daily basis? Their non verbal message rings loud and clear: Here we are, doing great things, helping lots of people. You need to pay attention to us and support us. Also, please don’t ask us any questions!
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.