Want to know what it’s like to be a donor? Then give.

I’m a curious person. I like to know things. I like to make decisions based on the information available. Now, before we get into a weird psychoanalysis of my personality (or lack thereof), I should point out that I suspect most fundraisers are fairly nosy people.

I say that in the most positive way possible; we see things happening in the world and we want to know what we can do to improve or change it. We speak to a wide variety of folks on a daily basis, and we want to know more about them – why’d they choose our charity, what motivates them about our cause, what’s their story?

All of this plays into our desire to join up the person making the gift with the person benefitting from that gift. We want to know why someone gives so we can show them opportunities for them to make a difference in the way they want to, and help our beneficiaries at the same time. We’re all trying to be more donor-centric, more responsive, talk less about ourselves, brag less about our achievements. And we’re looking for feedback on our efforts from our donors, which is great.

But are we missing an obvious opportunity? Because what better way to experience what it’s like to be a donor, than to give?

This is why I’m going to make a gift to the next 10 charities (to whom I’m not already giving) who ask me. Doesn’t matter how those asks arrive – mail, email – I’m going to make a small, single gift.

Ask The Question
Don’t all rush in at once, of course…

I want to know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of things like the appeals I spend hours and hours crafting. What kind of thank you letter will I get? Will I get a phone call, asking me to upgrade my gift, in the following three months? How are those charities communicating with me by email?

All this curiosity should hopefully make me better as a fundraiser. I’ve said it before, but I think we often lose sight it. The fact that those lovely donors who give to us? They probably also give to several other organisations that are close to their hearts too.

So we need to try and remember this in our drive to be more donor-centric, and better at what we do. We’re competing for our donors’ love as well as their gifts, so let’s find out how well we as a sector are generally doing these days.

I’ll update you when I’ve made my 10 gifts, and we’ll see what happens from there!

-FL

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