In the Mind of the Donor | Walk a Mile in Your Donors’ Shoes

Walk a mile in your donors shoes

Jul 22


A Donor-Centered Organization

Have you ever heard of the phrase “Walk a mile in another person’s shoes”? What does this term specifically suggest you to do? The phrase implies gaining the experience of seeing another person’s perspective, which in turn gives you the insight into their thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Simply put, when you walk into a person’s shoes, you will begin to understand their story.

Donors are people just like you and I, living life one day at a time. Many nonprofits find it very frustrating finding those valuable motivated donors, not only do we want them, we need them.  Ask yourself: do you know what it’s like to be a donor to your nonprofit? Is the experience fun or something filled with obstruction?  Set time aside to put yourself in your donor’s shoes to guarantee that your fundraising strategy will inspire them to give. ( Knowing your donors should be the foundation of any donor retention program. The more you know about your donors, the more opportunities you have to reinforce those valued relationships.

Customer Retention vs. Donor Retention

Customer retention plays a major role in helping a company grow a healthy bottom line. According to an article published in Forbes, titled “Five Customer Retention Tips for Entrepreneurs”, “many entrepreneurs believe that if they have a great product or service and provide an outstanding customer experience, customer retention will naturally follow. And if this were your startup philosophy you would be right….but only for a short time. Customers don’t owe you their loyalty. You have to earn it-continually.”

The same applies to the nonprofit sector; donors’ don’t owe you their loyalty. You have to earn it-continually.  Successful relationships mean, hopefully, many years of future collaboration.  Always bring something to the table and keep communication open at all times. Even if your potential relationships don’t end up donating right away keep them as potential business contacts for the future. (Expedite Fundraising Efforts with Intentional Relationships) Earn donor loyalty with these five wonderful tips from the nonprofit hub.

1.   Craft a compelling message. What message is your nonprofit currently communicating? What does your content say about your organization? What does the way you represent yourself tell current donors about the way you operate?

2.   Develop trust. Establish a sense of trust, trust means the donor believes in the organization, and knows their money is getting put to work.

3.   Make loyalty easy. Don’t make it inconvenient, but rather convenient.

4.   Relationships, not donations. Focus on the relationship, stop thinking in terms of immediate ROI, and focus on developing the relationship further.

5.   Test. Test to see what works.

Always remember building a loyal relationship is not magic. It requires constant hard work. Respond to your donors with:

  • Respect: Respect your way to strong long lasting donor relationships.
  • Consideration: Always take into consideration the donors thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Understand who they are, what they need or want, and why they give.
  • Appreciation: Show your donors gratitude all year round. Are you grateful for what they do? Do you show it?
    • Send an email or letter
    • Make a phone call
    • Send a thank you video
    • Write a blog dedicated to them
    • Shout out on social media outlets

Donors are actively seeking organizations that they feel are most connected with their story. Make the prospect feel an emotional connection to your work. Start today by walking a mile in the shoes of a donor.

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