Born into poverty on a farm in Missouri, Dale Carnegie would get up at three a.m. to feed the pigs and milk his parents' cows before going to school. An avid learner, he studied successful people to learn how to sell.
He used his learning to help him sell correspondence courses, bacon, soap, and lard. One of his endeavors, a book called How To Win Friends And Influence People, became a best seller. At the time of his death, "the book had sold five million copies in 31 languages, and there had been 450,000 graduates of his Dale Carnegie Institute" (read more).
Dale Carnegie famously said,
"You will make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
"You can rarely be interesting to someone without first being interested in them."
Fundraisers who understand this insight raise much more money. It explains how centering your fundraising around the donor, their desires, values, and hopes attracts more money.
In fundraising, this philosophy is called "donor-centric" fundraising. It acknowledges that donors don't give TO your organization so much as they give THROUGH your organization.
Fundraising gold nugget: Donors don't give to your organization as much as they give through it.
Donor-centered fundraising embraces the idea that donors give to their values. And, when organizations represent the donor's values, the donors give TO their values THROUGH the organization.
Isn't that amazing? Can you imagine your fundraising if you began to know and understand the values that your donors are giving to when they give to you?
Can you see yourself telling stories about the values that you and your donor have in common? Are you getting this?
Being donor-centered means stop talking about:
Your education, degrees, and certifications
Instead, talk about and tell stories that highlight:
The donor’s values
The donor’s giving aspirations
The donor’s hopes
The donor’s dreams
The donor’s interests
Now you are asking, How will donors get to know about my organization if I never talk about it?
The question: WHY ARE WE WRITING AND TALKING ABOUT OURSELVES AND OUR ORGANIZATION?
The answer: MOST FUNDRAISERS THINK THEY HAVE TO SELL THEMSELVES OR THEIR ORGANIZATION.
Missionaries who talk about themselves, the new meals they are eating, their children's birthday parties, their sermons, and the weather in their assigned country are trying to sell themselves. They get less money.
Missionaries who tell stories about the lives they are seeing changed because donors have given, get more money by highlighting the donor's impact.
Pastors who talk about themselves, their latest sermons, the size of their crowds, buildings, and staff, are selling themselves.
Pastors who tell stories of lives changed because of their donor's financial support highlight the donor's impact.
Nonprofit leaders who talk about their buildings, staff, equipment, and education are selling themselves. They get less money.
Nonprofit leaders who tell stories about people whose lives have been changed highlight the donor's impact. They get more money.
Are you ready to get started getting more money? Follow me and let’s be more donor-centered in our fundraising. Being donor-centered is a minor touch that brings about major impact!