I read an article recently that served as a great reminder about how charities view donors. The article, “Be Generous to Inspire Generosity“, suggested that if we treat donors like walking wallets they might get mad and leave us. But when we lavish them with a generous spirit and excellent service, they’ll stay with us.
The article suggested the following checklist to spur on a generous spirit:
1. Give away. Give away everything you can. The article included some practical ways like free training, newsletters and being generous with time. I would add that one of the greatest things we have to give to our supporters is vision. Being on the frontlines of ministry we get to live it out everyday – our donors do not. Be intentional about giving that away – you have a unique perspective which means you have knowledge, stories and experiences to give. Giving donors the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves is a great gift.
2. Give thanks. Be intentional about spending as much time and energy thanking donors and sharing impact with them as you spend asking them for more money. Make sure they know their value as it relates to your ministry and they are not just a target symbol on your radar.
3. Give credit. In addition to expressing gratitude give your donors credit for what you do. Don’t say ‘with your donation we did this’ instead say ‘you did this.’ This turns donors into owners of your mission which leads to giving evangelists – they can’t wait to tell their circle of influence about what they are a part of. A powerful thing indeed.
Instead of viewing donors as people we extract value from we have the opportunity to show them value, over and over, and the money will follow – generosity breeds generosity.