Eight Assumptions

I just discovered Jeff Brooks and his blog “Future Fundraising Now”. Jeff’s postings are not only interesting, and accurate, but they are respectful and honest about donors. Integrity and authenticity are what I keep preaching, and Jeff is clearly on the same page.

Just recently Jeff posted a great piece called “8 assumptions you should make about donors”. Below — with my comments — are several of these assumptions.

  1. Donors make decisions with their hearts. Giving them lots of facts does not win them over. (Lisa: Yes, hearts, but minds, too. If, as a fundraiser, the person you’re pitching is “just not that into you”(after learning about your organization), then give it a break and go on to the next prospect.)

  2. Donors seek to justify their decisions with facts. A few well-chosen facts can help. (Lisa: Accent on the “well-chosen”. If you’ve done your homework before the pitch meeting, you’ll know which facts are likely to be of interest to the prospect.)

  3. Donors are far more interested in what their gift means for them than what it means for you. (Lisa: Right! You should be able to leave that call/zoom/meeting knowing why a gift might be meaningful for that donor. If you’re developing an authentic relationship with the prospect, you should know that answer.)

  4. Donors look for "bargains." Anything that makes it feel like their donation does a lot is more attractive. (Lisa: This is the “impact” part. Lots of impact with a matching grant? I’m in.)

  5. You can't force Donors to do anything. There's no mind control, no secret that makes them give. You have to win each donation. (Lisa: By “winning”, this doesn’t mean you should push me to decide between your organization and another organization. That’s bad form and off-putting. And the real “secret” is that you need to listen to the donor and have an honest conversation with them. Donors can usually smell dishonesty and craftiness.)

  6. Donors love to donate. (Lisa: Yes! As long as it’s done in a way where it feels impactful, meaningful, and authentic.)

  7. Donors are afraid your fundraising might be a scam. (Lisa: Yes on this, too. See Jon Krakauer’s take on this here.)

  8. Most Donors like to do what other people are doing. (Lisa: Right! Since trust is one of the main factors in giving, it’s easier to trust an organization that your friend/colleague has already vetted and donates to.)

Thanks, Jeff! Hopefully, more nonprofit advisors like you can jump on the bandwagon and help us make a real and positive change to help NPOs thrive.

p.s. Jeff also has a great compilation of what he calls “Stupid Nonprofit Ads”, which you can find here.


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- Lisa