Let's Raise Some Money
Insights from Karen Climer about fundraising and nonprofit organizations

Take Your Donors For Granted, And They Will Take Their Money Elsewhere

March 17th, 2014 by Karen Climer

Not long ago, I was talking to a client about the major donations they had received recently.  She was listing a few of them.  Then I said, “Don’t forget the $10,000 from John Smith.”

She responded dismissively, “Oh, him.  That one was a given.” 

John Smith had donated previously.  In fact, he was the most long-term donor the organization had.  His support was key in the founding of the organization.  Evidently, this made him and his donation less valuable than the other people she had mentioned. 

I suggested that she might not want to take him for granted.  I’ve seen the most loyal donors switch organizations because they didn’t feel appreciated.  Usually the scenario goes like this… Nonprofit ignores donor.  Donor quits donating to nonprofit.  Everyone at nonprofit is shocked and appalled that donor left.

Remember, donors are not loyal to organizations — they are loyal to causes.  If a donor is not happy with you, there are other organizations that will help him achieve his philanthropic goals.

Treat all of your donors well.  Treat your long-term donors really well.  As soon as you start to think, “That one was a given,” your donor will move on to another organization.  You will be left empty-handed wondering, “What did we do wrong?”

Posted in Retention

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