Fred Rogers has been on the minds of many this year. Some of us were reminded of his legacy in the PBS special, It’s You I Like. The program is a marvelous celebration of the anniversary of airing of the first episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
In the first edition of Channeling Fred Rogers I shared five qualities that I believe Mr. Rogers possessed, qualities that fundraisers might emulate.
- Realizing that It’s Not About You (Thanks Advancement Resources for this mantra)
- Fundraising as Education
This week the focus is on donor love. Tom Ahern speaks about donor love in his post “Reciprocity goes both ways”. Tom says:
“You might not realize it … but you actually DO have something to give back to the donor that’s of great probably inestimable – value for many of them … all those at least with standard-issue psychological software and hardware. Give them …
When we fall in love don’t we want to know everything about the other person, e.g., their favorite color, foods they prefer, movies on their top ten list and so on? Similarly, if we plan to ask someone for $100, $100,000, or $1 million would we not want to know who and what matters to them and why?
In How Donors Choose Among Nonprofits the folks at The Agitator provide some guidance regarding best practices. They suggest that we come to understand the identities of our donors (what Advancement Resources would describe as a donor’s passion).
How have I put that love into action? For example, I came to understand how very much one prospective donor loved swimming. She wanted to be sure there would be a pool available to she and others in her community. However, she didn’t have significant financial resources to contribute.
Even so she was one of the first donors to a yet to be announced pool campaign. She gave a small sum, joking that it was all she had besides her two cents. The sum may have been small, but my thank you letter was long and, well, loving.
A long and loving letter for a small gift you say, are you crazy or did you have too much time on your hands?
I spent as much time writing that letter as I did on a thank you for $200,000 and I was glad that I did.
After receiving the letter the donor told me she wanted to frame it. She was so pleased that she became one of the greatest unofficial fundraisers for the project. (There is more to this story, which I will share this fall).
In what ways have you shown donors love, respect, and admiration? I hope you will share here, I would LOVE to hear from you!
Sophie W. Penney, Ph.D. is the Senior Program Coordinator and Lecturer for Penn State’s all online Certificate Program in Fundraising Leadership and President of i5 Fundraising.