How would our approach to our donors change if we thought of them as fellow students of the cause rather than as supporters of our organization?
“Well, what if they grew in the cause but didn’t give to our organization?”
My question in reply: Is it really possible for them to genuinely grow in the cause without growing in their giving?
Change your identity. Stop being the recipient of your donors’ gifts and start being the vehicle for your donors’ maturing and comprehensive activity in relation to the cause.
To that end, rebuild your newsletter around your donors’ ability to answer the following five questions after reading each issue. These come from Will Richardson at Weblogg-ed, a great site on learning and instruction that doesn’t have anything explicitly to do with donor development only because, regretfully, we persist in thinking of donors as supporters and not students of the cause.
- Learn (What did you know? What are you able to do?)
- Understand (What is the evidence that you can apply learning in one domain to another?)
- Share (How did you use what you have learned to help a person, the class, the community or the planet?)
- Explore (What did you learn beyond the limits of the lesson? What mistakes did you make, and how did you learn from them?)
- Create (What new ideas, knowledge, or understanding can you offer?)
If we think that donors can answer these questions well and passionately without giving, we understand neither donors nor causes at all.
Sadly, that very well may be the case.