To see ourselves through donors’ eyes

“I have difficulty warming up to receiving cold calls.” 

It’s been a couple of weeks since a reader posted this 9-word comment and I’ve yet to reconcile his response with my hints to fundraisers for taking the shivers out of cold calls. I’m not ready to change the tune I regularly sing to clients about the importance of knocking on unfamiliar doors. However, I can’t ignore this comment from a reader who I know is generous to many good causes, including several ministries that are near to my heart.

I’m conflicted, to say the least.

Now this — a tongue-in-cheek look at fundraising through donors’ eyes, compliments the creative team at bluefrog, a London-based consulting firm. It seems a lot of folks have difficulty warming to cold calls and other approaches by fundraisers.

Okay, so the bluefrog video is an over-the-top portrayal of the fundraiser’s work. But how do donors to your organization feel about the way they are asked and thanked for gifts? Does your fundraising program encourage donors to grow in generosity or do your development efforts send folks running? Have you ever asked?

Thom Jeavons and I addressed these questions in Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry where we wrote:

Donors are rarely encouraged to provide feedback on how giving has changed their hearts and so most fundraisers do not know how donors perceive their work, at least not in this regard. Along with the happy stories of God’s blessing in individual lives, organizational leaders who seek to hear what donors have to say about the messages and methods used should be prepared for stories that are not so joyous. The fact is that both types of tales are helpful in assessing how the organization is doing with donor relations.

When the organization’s aim is to be a channel through which God’s love and joy can flow to donors’ hearts, there’s much to be gained from listening. Including, maybe, warmer welcomes to cold calls.

TALK BACK: What’s your advice on getting donors’ attention without getting on their nerves?  If there’s a chicken suit involved in your answer, please keep it to yourself. All other replies gladly received.




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