Effective Fundraising Means You Can’t Treat Donors Like ATMs [VIDEO]

The mark of a superficial relationship: you only interact when you need something.

This is true of friendships, children to their parents and you to your donors. Do you have a real relationship, with back and forth and personality, or are you treating your donor base like an ATM, there whenever you need it?

The difference matters.

Learn How Effective Fundraising Helps You Reach Your Donors:


It’s the classic sitcom scenario: the teenager walks through the living room to where Dad is sitting in his easy chair, reading the Sunday paper.

The teenager stops and says: “Father, you know how dearly I love you, and how much appreciate everything you’ve ever done for me…”

The father replies: “Alright. What is it you want?”

Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t too far from how many nonprofits treat their donors.

Effective fundraising means we can’t treat donors like ATMs. If you want to court major donors, you have work to build a real relationship.

Think about the father-son example. A son asking his father to spot him some cash isn’t NECESSARILY a bad thing–it could be something the father would be happy to pay for, like buying a book to study for the SATs or going out to a movie with some friends.

The problem happens because the teenager hasn’t built the relationship, which means his approach isn’t authentic. If the teen wants the father’s trust–AND his money–he’s going to have to work on the relationship over time, not just when it’s convenient.

The same goes for your relationships with donors. Think of ways to GROW those relationships. Does your donor have a skill that would help your organization grow? Can you ask them for advice about how to improve your campaign? Do you send them updates and stories based on what most inspires them most?

Effective fundraising means NURTURING your relationships with donors, not treating them like an ATM.

Thanks for watching.

Effective Fundraising

Randy Hawthorne

As the former Executive Director and Editor for Nonprofit Hub and a Professional Certified Marketer, Randy shares his passions of marketing and education with nonprofits to help them implement marketing and organizational leadership principles so they can grow their organizations. Randy lends his marketing and organizational leadership expertise to a number of nonprofits in his community. Outside the office, Randy works with high school and college students and mentors young professionals to develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

June 17, 2013

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