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Love your audience

by Christiana Stergiou

Of the many non-fundraising blogs I subscribe to, Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-conformity Dispatch is one of my favourites [thanks, Fundraising Detective, for the tip!]

Chris’s recent post, Luciano Pavarotti’s Secret to Online Success, got me thinking. To cut the story short, here’s the secret:

Some singers want the audience to love them. I love the audience. -Luciano Pavarotti

Many nonprofits want (and expect) people to love them. Yes, the organisation does good work, yes it may be a worthy cause. Then why aren’t people falling over themselves to donate?

Do you want your donors to love you? Or do you love your donors? There’s a big difference!

The concept of involvement is so important when it comes to long-term growth. I’m impressed by new nonprofits such as the Childs i Foundation. They genuinely want people involved in their mission (the ‘i’ stands for interactive).

I’ve recently met with a some smaller nonprofits who want to get into public fundraising to quickly raise much-needed funds, particularly when government funding or corporate sponsorship has suddenly dried up. That’s a good start. But then the reality kicks in: How have they worked to involve people in their mission?Where might that public support come from? Who is their audience? Have they made any effort to involve or love their audience?

And for many nonprofits, they may think and genuinely believe they love thier audience, but sometimes thier actions don’t demonstrate it.

Here are just five ways to love your donors:

  • Have regular meet ups where you invite your donors to come together to help you. Check out Child’s i Foundation’s approach to meet ups.
  • Invite your donors to see your work. Give them a really inspiring tour or presentation. Even if they can’t attend, a genuine and personal invitation means a lot.
  • Share more about the impact of your work. I really love UK charity, Missing People’s impact reports.
  • Write to donors one or two times a year to say thank you. Give them the opportunity to tell you what they think, or to share thoughts with you. This can be done by including a simple reply form and reply envelope, without asking for donations.
  • Ultimately, if you don’t think you love your donors, you need to identify the big and little changes to make it so.

Would you like to share your tips about how you love your donors? Please feel free to include your actions or ideas in the comments section of  this article.

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