Difficult Donors (It's Not Your Fault!)

Nov 15, 2017
 

This month, in Fundraisers' Monthly, we're getting really real.

We're talking about difficult donors. (booooo!)

Our awesome member, Alex, said:

"Every fundraising training/book/etc. seems to operate on the assumption that all donors are warm, trusting, altruistic teddy bears that are full of love and sunshine."

It's true. There is a lot of sunshine, roses and sickeningly sweet talk in fundraising.

Nancy and I are guilty of this, too. We like to say - when you're generous, you can't be mean - when you're giving, you can't be angry. But that's just not always true.

Sometimes, people - even generous people who are giving away their hard-earned money for a damn good cause - are just plain rude.

And fundraising is 1000% percent a people business, so, here it is, the really real truth about fundraising:

You will absolutely meet and have to deal with a few jerks. (I'm sorry for this and I'm sending you an e-hug right now.)

More than a few people will hang up on you (ah, the joys of cold...

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What's Your One Thing? Part II

Nov 09, 2017

What's the one thing you wish you'd known when you started fundraising? 

   Share your answer in the comments below?!

We're asking you. Whether you're a fundraiser, executive director, board member or volunteer, what advice, secret, tool or tip do you wish you'd had earlier? 

Share you answers here on the Generous Change blog and, together, we can help take the fear out of fundraising! 

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What's my one thing? 

It's about the money. 

That sounds obvious, right? But honestly, I didn't quite get it early on.

I tend toward the, shall we say, overly optimistic. When I first started fundraising, if someone clearly had wealth and said they loved my org, I assumed that, eventually - once I'd built the fabled "relationship" and "engaged" them - they would give.

Not so much.

I'd visit these delightful folks three, four, sometimes five times before realizing that:

  • yes, they...
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What's Your One Thing?

Nov 07, 2017
 

What's the one thing you wish you would've known when you started fundraising?

Share your answer in the comments below?!

We're asking you. Whether you're a fundraiser, nonprofit executive director, board member or volunteer - what advice, secret, tool or tip do you wish you'd had earlier?

Share your answers here on the Generous Change blog, and, together, we can help take the fear out of fundraising.


What's my one thing?

Peoples is peoples.

This awesome quote from The Muppets Take Manhattan still helps me to be a better fundraiser. Yes, I'm serious. The Muppets have helped me raise money. There's inspiration everywhere! Even from way back in 1984.

When I started in fundraising (and honestly, for the first few years), I lacked confidence. I was completely intimidated by the strangers I was meeting. Honestly, I couldn't sleep the night before donor visits because of these thoughts:

  • I'm going to say the wrong thing.
  • I don't know enough.
  • I'm not as smart as the person I'm meeting.
  • ...
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ARE YOU GONNA ASK TODAY?

Apr 04, 2017

Are you? Going to ask today? It not, what do you need to learn to get there? 

One of three things, friends: timing, amount, purpose. Ideally in that order.

  • Your donor’s timing (kids in school, retirement looming, big medical bills) lets you know if you should even be talking about money right now. 
  • Guidance on amount lets you put exactly the right opportunities in front of them (you don’t go down blind alleys nor do you under-ask!). 
  • Then the real fun begins and you can focus on purpose, co-creating with your donor a gift that achieves exactly the impact they dream.

Don’t get us wrong! Of course you want to know your donor. Rapport matters, connection matters, respect matters – a lot.

We’re not suggesting you should make an ask upon first meeting (though honestly, sometimes you should!).

But you absolutely should, must – please, we are begging you – be asking yourself, before every meeting, “Am I going to ask...

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Death to the Elevator Speech!

Mar 29, 2017

Have you ever gone to an expensive seminar where they told you to develop your elevator speech? Don't do it!

You guys, we have all been on an elevator. Think about it - the only "speech" anybody likes in there is a question or a compliment. Because showing genuine interest in another person is the only way to really connect, right?

Nobody likes the person who bloviates about her "value proposition." That's boring.

Everyone responds, however, to genuine, infectious enthusiasm. True zeal is hard to resist. It causes people to get curious, to ask you questions, and to be interested in the answers. When you go about fundraising this way, donors thank you for your enthusiasm for your own darned cause!

So don't worry about an elevator speech.

Do think about how to fall more in love with what you do. And be ready with a single, powerful sentence that says - literally, physically - what your org accomplishes. So that when someone asks (because you've connected, and now...

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