Once you start to pay attention you can’t help but notice it….all the many ways we describe our donors.
In development, that’s all we do is talk about them. They are at the heart of every conversation. What bothers me is when we start to talk about our donors as if they were numbers whose sole purpose is to achieve that figure on the bottom line.
Here’s just a few that I’ve heard or read about recently: Constituent, record, giving unit, or even “the problem”. Sometimes donors even have names for themselves like “ATM machine”. That one struck me particularly hard and got me thinking. If donors really feel like that’s all they are to an organization, it’s no wonder why it’s so hard to get a major donation, let alone an annual gift or even just a meeting with them.
In a recent blog post, Pamela Barden said it better than I ever could. She said ” You have to truly appreciate the people who contribute, choose not to contribute, tell you why they stopped contributing, ask others to join them in contributing, or in any other way respond to your fundraising. If you appreciate your paycheck, you should appreciate the people who make that possible – YOUR DONORS”.
I like to remind myself as often as possible that donors are PEOPLE! Real people who give freely and thoughtfully for the benefit of others. People are the heart of fundraising. And, to be truly successful means that they should not be treated like numbers or problems or irritations in our day.
I don’t think we can remind ourselves enough of that fact. It should be evident in everything your development department does and says. So next time you’re talking about your donors, remember to value and appreciate them – in your actions AND your words.
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts about today’s blog post, by leaving a comment below.