September 4, 2014

The Top 7 Things Donors Hope to Hear in Words and Actions

1. “Thank you, you gift made a difference.” View this as the start of the conversation not the end.

2. “Here’s specifically how your gifts help to change lives.” Ever seen what happens when you add a few drops to a bucket of water? Donors fear their donations will disappear.

3. “We can help you to achieve your hopes and dreams.” This only works after a donor has shared their aspirations; otherwise it’s a bromide.

4. “We care both about what you want and what this nonprofits needs. Let’s find ways to work together to honor both.” When you encounter conflict, converse with donors to generate third alternatives. Success here will deepen the donor’s respect and improve your relationship.

5. “You’ll have the paperwork you need for your records or we’ll get it to you with 48 hours.” Every try to fill out your taxes and have to go begging for a receipt? Talk about a nasty aftertaste.

6. “We’ll still care about you after your gift.” As the leader of a government grant program I was decidedly more popular before grant deadlines than after. I found it amusing, but I’d have been miffed if the funding had been my own.  To a donor the most important time is after.

7. “We really appreciate it.” This is another version of thank you. Once is never enough.

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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