Stop and smell the roses

Published by Brad Sedal on

I’m proud to call myself a Fundraiser. It’s who I am, it’s what I do, it’s kind of in my core.

But there is a challenge. A donor really, really doesn’t want to be ‘fundraised’. They don’t want to know that they are being targeted, segmented, analysed, and actively moved up the giving pyramid or being identified as a good bequest prospect.

A donor doesn’t want to be marketed to.

A donor wants you to care. To care about them.

A donor wants to know that you know why they support your cause. They want you to know why they increased their monthly gift last month. And they want you to know why they cancelled after 5 years of giving.

hello-my-name-is-JohnA donor wants to know that you understand what inspires them and what doesn’t; what makes them feel powerful and what they like to receive in their inbox on a Wednesday morning. A donor wants you to understand them and not abandon them during the tough times (say, for example, when they can’t donate as they lose their job). A donor wants you to be their ally. They want to fight the good fight beside you and know you have their back because they definitely have yours.

A donor wants you to know that they are just the same as you. That they care just as much as you.

A donor wants to be your friend….well eventually once you’ve proved yourself worthy.

I don’t know too many people who put their friends into a spreadsheet and analyse their ‘friendship’ potential. Or think about how to move John up from acquaintance level to Friday night drinking buddy? Do you?

But…..I do know lots of people who work to build strong connections and ultimately create meaningful relationships for life.

It’s the Holy Grail, yeah? But what if it was possible.

Well it is. How? You.

Yes, lots of us have huge databases of actively engaged donors, lapsed donors and donors who never really got off the ground to begin with. Some of us have email lists in the hundreds of thousands and large teams of dedicated donor champions, champing at the bit to give our donors the best experience possible. We have targets and strategies, training programs and visions. We talk about donor centricity, create presentations for our boards on performance and sell our plans to management. But how often do we think about that guy called John? You know who I mean. No, Not ‘take X action with donor 123456 (aka John) to move him to Y position, to align with our growth strategy, but when was the last time you actually thought about John?

Our databases are full of people like John. John makes our work possible, without John I wouldn’t be writing this post. I wouldn’t be building that strategy, investing in that program or winning that essential battle. Without John the world would be a much poorer place.

Don’t forget about John, his family, his life, passions and values. Don’t forget that John is a person. Don’t forget that John cares.

Send John an email, a sms or give him a call to say ‘Hey John thanks! Thanks for being a friend to our cause’. I’m sure John will be stoked.

Go on….I dare you to make John’s day.

Brad Sedal

Brad is currently the Supporter Relations and Supporter Information Manager for Greenpeace New Zealand, where he has worked with supporters since 2008. He is responsible for the strategic leadership of Greenpeace New Zealand's supporter care and donor database functions.


John Lepp · June 7, 2016 at 16:23

I think it more likely her name is “Jane” than John… ;)

    Brad Sedal · June 11, 2016 at 13:15

    Poor John :)

Henry Larry · February 14, 2024 at 10:19

Embracing the essence of genuine connection with donors is paramount. Lets focus on nurturing relationships making every interaction personal and ensuring our donors feel valued and understood.
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Clairity Click-it Summer Reading: Extravaganza of Free Nonprofit Resources - Clairification · December 7, 2016 at 05:23

[…] Stop and smell the roses. Are you fundraising from your donor’s perspective? Let this common sense article by Brad Sedal […]

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