What Donors Want

By Connie Hougland

I read with great interest a recent report from The Center for High Impact Philanthropy. The report was based on a study the Center did with 33 high net worth philanthropists about their approach to giving.

A quick glance at the survey notes the following insights:

  • Donors have a desire for a personal connection with the charity. There is a reliance on peers for referrals.
  • Donors desire for giving to be a joyful experience – not work.
  • Donors often desire more information about the impact of their giving but are reluctant to ask.
  • Donors desire to be more than a check writer. They want to be a part of something.

Our experience at SCCF would echo these sentiments. So, how can we put legs under these insights to help us grow in our own ministry?

Consider the following actions:

  • Build Relationships – be intentional and authentic in building and cultivating relationships with those who support your ministry. Everyone in your database has a circle of influence.
  • Celebrate Wins – while the need is typically greater than the funds available, we can’t forget to celebrate those who are giving and making a difference. Celebrate the successes – allow your donors to be part of a winning team.
  • Be Transparent – provide your donors and support base current and relevant updates. Think about reports you receive on your investments. Provide your donors with updates that include your focus on stewardship of the funds you receive as well as an indicator of the impact or reach you are having due to their generosity.
  • Engage Donors – make sure your donors know there are opportunities for them to get involved. In addition to having hands-on volunteer opportunities think about other ways people can become engaged with your ministry. For example, an advisory board is a great way to engage people with expertise but limited time, or ask those who are passionate about what you do to contribute to your blog or newsletter, etc.

For the full report from The Center of High Impact Philanthropy visit their website at http://www.impact.upenn.edu/.

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