December 8, 2008

Donor-centered. Donor-focused. Donor-driven.

All mean the same thing. It’s like the for-profit world being customer-centered.

A common term. Used forever by great fundraisers like Mal Warwick, Kay Sprinkel Grace, Ken Burnett, Karla Williams.

Focusing on the donor. Putting the donor at the center of your organization. Nurturing relationships so you build donor loyalty.

Take a look at Adrian Sargeant’s research – and his book Building Donor Loyalty, co-authored with Elaine Jay.

Take a look at Keep Your Donors: The Guide to Better Communications and Stronger Relationships, written by Tom Ahern and me. And keep in mind: donor loyalty and donor-centrism are inextricably linked.

So right now, evaluate your organization’s performance using the Donor-Centric Pledge.

Download the Donor-Centric Pledge. Discuss your performance with your staff colleagues. For example, meet with the development staff and the executive director.

Use the Donor-Centric Pledge to talk with program staff. Actually, everyone in your agency needs to understand what it means to focus on the donor. Think of it this way: “donor-centric” is another way of saying “building trust.”

Use the Donor-Centric Pledge with your Fund Development Committee. Use the Donor-Centric Pledge to help identify needed changes and strategies in your fund development plan.

Being donor-centered doesn’t compromise your mission. Of course, you’re mission-centered. But donors are central to achieving your mission. So you’re donor-focused, too. Donors need to be included in your inner circle.

Remember what The Big Moo says: “Remarkable isn’t up to you. Remarkable is in the eye of the customer. If your customer decides something you do is worth remarking on, then, by definition, it’s remarkable.”

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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