I often am introduced as a “fundraiser who doesn’t care about the money.” It always gets a laugh at conferences, but the irony is that in many respect it’s true.
To me, the rewards of fundraising lie in fostering a community of people united around an urgent cause. That they express their solidarity with their wallets is almost secondary.
But you know what? When you treat donors with gratitude and respect, the money comes too. Here’s a lovely recent post by Mary Cahalane on the importance of cultivating sincere affection for your donors.
Conversely, she warns, when the money is the only thing you think about, There’s an excellent chance you’ll end up abusing your donors and tanking your retention.
“If you believe someone thinks well of you,” she writes,” you’re much more receptive to a conversation or some kind of relationship. If you think someone doesn’t think much of you, that potential relationship is dead in the water.”
If donors are like ATMs to you, don’t think for a minute they won’t pick up on it.