If I told you that you’re a salesman, you may recoil.
But reflect for a second…
Donors to your mosdos Torah are like customers to a business.
Businesses need their customers to be loyal. To buy from them again and again. That’s how they make money.
We want our donors to give and give again. That’s how we are empowered to make a difference.
As a customer, when you buy something, you get something in return. You pay your money, you receive a watch. A bottle of wine. Or a new suit.
Customer loyalty happens when, as a customer, we get what we want.
So too, donor loyalty happens when, as a donor, they get what they want.
So what does a donor want?
There’s a science in the fundraising world that touches at the very heart of understanding what our donors want.
It involves shifting the way we relate to, interact and communicate with our donors from being organization focused to donor focused.
It’s called being ‘donor centric.’
Fundraising communications guru, Jeff Brooks explains, “Being donor centric means paying attention to how your donors behave and making smart decisions based on those observations.”
When you do that, you get loyal and long-term supporters to your organization.
So how do you become more ‘donor centric?’
Here are my ‘Six Constants.’ Constant mindsets, attitudes and ways to work so you’ll get there.
These are the basis of what really drives donor centric relationships in this generation. (And no doubt in the past!)
Principle 1: Be Mezake Zchus.
(See Michtav M’Eliyahu Vol. 3, Pg. 91.)
Rav Dessler shares that when soliciting funds for your Mosdos Torah, make your intentions and actions come from a place of giving to the donor – and not taking from him.
Principle 2: See the Relationship Through Their Eyes.
Committed donors come through a relationship. Think about your relationship from the donors’ point of view.
Uncover their reasons and drives for giving. Always be looking to understand them more.
Why do they give? Why do they give to you? What do they value about this relationship? What can you give them?
How are you getting to know them better? What are you doing to be a giver in this relationship? If you were dating them, what would you do to surprise them?
Principle 3: Connect to Their Values and Emotions.
You are in this because you’ve taken responsibility. You care. Out of seeing a lack or problem and a determination to make it better. To change the status quo.
Your donors share these same values.
Identify and connect with each of your donors through the values that drive their giving.
It’s through these shared values that you can give your donors a powerful sense of belonging.
Principle 4: Share Amazing and Inspiring Stories.
Become good at telling stories. Every time your beloved donor hears from you, you want them to be re-engaged, re-energized and fall in love with you all over again.
Your stories should provoke an emotional response in your donor.
Always have a story. Spend time getting them. And practice if you need to. It’s that important.
Principle 5: Make your Donor a Part of Your Organization’s Story.
Speak in terms of – what he has made possible.
By doing so, you are giving him the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in your organization. And in the Jewish world.
Your donors want to help. They want to make an impact.
It’s that simple-but-critical shift from talking about “what we do” to “what you make possible.”
Do this every day. Every time you speak or communicate.
This is not just a cute marketing technique. It’s a real hashgafic shift in your perspective that your donors are of central importance to the success that you have achieved. And will continue to achieve.
Principle 6: Say Thank You with Passion.
Real heartfelt hakaras hatov. Not, “On behalf of…,” not, “We received your check on…,” not, “Yours sincerely….”
Say thanks with passion! Use emotion!
Everyone in your organization should have a hand in gratitude. It should be a part of the culture of the entire team.
But whoever is doing it, whenever they may be doing it – make sure they do it with real passion. (Even if you’re English, like me, it’s possible!)
When you use these Six Principles – which don’t need more work than you are already doing – just a change in perspective and communication style, you’ll see clearly how it will impact and shift the way your donors will relate to you and your organization.
Which one will you choose to focus on this week?
B’hatzlacha raba raba,
P.S. Email me at email@example.com to introduce yourself and share your ideas, questions and chizuk.
Avraham Lewis is ‘The Fundraising Coach‘ for Jewish leaders – with too much on their plate – to accelerate their fundraising success.
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