A NY Times article, Sometimes You Have to Quit to Get Ahead, mentions Mr. Godin’s book The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), which is a brief and excellent read. The Dip prompts thinking not only about fundraising, but other areas of your nonprofit’s work and even about your own personal life.
You might also find of interest Godin’s book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Tribes provides insight into how a person or organization builds a following (FYI as I have implied in articles the key to building a tribe is understanding that the focus is on the donor — see my blog post She is not “Your” Donor).
The book that I find myself quoting time-after-time these days is Mr. Godin’s newest book, This is Marketing: You Can’t be Seen Until You Learn to See. I could not agree more with the tagline.
When I speak about the five i’s of fundraising — Identify, Inform, Involve, Invest, and Impact. I remind people that identify and inform are as much donor-focused as they are organization-focused. In short, you need to see, to really see the types of people who will identify with your cause and your organization. And inform starts with informing yourself about those donors, their needs, their wants, their hopes for the world (not informing donors about your nonprofit).
Jim Langley, former VP of Advancement from Georgetown and founder of Langley Innovations, posted a related and thoughtful set of questions on LinkedIn, questions that a new fundraiser might ask donors. I said to Jim these would be terrific questions for any nonprofit representative, say a board member making a stewardship visit, to ask of donors.
- “Why did you make your first gift?
- Why have you remained so loyal?
- What do you admire most about this organization?
- What must we do to continue to earn your support?
- What must we change lest we lose your support?”
Jim is part of a movement of people like Jennifer Harris, Kathleen Loehr and Armando Zumaya who are inviting us to take an authentic look a who are donors are and what they want. How have you come to learn about and to see, to really see your donors? I hope you will share because we can all learn from one another.
Sophie Penney is the President of i5 Fundraising and the Senior Program Coordinator and a Lecturer with Penn State’s all online certificate programs in fundraising (one graduate and one undergraduate). Interested in receiving News You Can Use directly to your email? You can subscribe by clicking here.