What Are You Talking About?

In my last post, I talked about the importance of staying connected with your donors… making sure that you’re communicating with them with regularity. But the key issue is WHAT you’re talking to them about. Communicating with many organizations is like going on a bad date. All they do is talk about themselves and as a result, the donor or potential donor is put off and can’t wait to disengage.

What donors want is to hear about what interests them. And that’s the impact and import of their support. They’ve given you a gift out of their personal resources, for a specific purpose… and that is to see the lives you reach impacted in whatever way your organization promises to help those you reach.

So if you promise to feed starving kids, then the donor wants to know how her gift helped a starving child. If you promise to help seniors who have dementia, then the donor wants to know how his gift made a difference in the lives of those seniors. If you promise to help teach art to disadvantaged children, then the donor wants to know how her gift helped those children make a better life.

Here’s the key: Your donors don’t want to hear about your programs except for how those programs are making a difference in the lives of people. And it’s not about how great you are, but how the donor is making this possible through their support.

This should be the central theme of your communication… connecting with the donor on the “why” of your organization, not the “what,” because the donor doesn’t support what you do, but why you do what you do.

When you get this right, it makes the issue of frequency of communication a very different calculation. You no longer feel like you are bugging your donors, but rather serving a high-felt need they have to know all that their support is helping to accomplish. And that compels you to be in front of them in engaging, interesting, and inspiring ways, encouraging their ongoing support.

And that makes for a lasting relationship.

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