My friend fretted, her hand tapping the table. “I’m going out with this great guy, and he seems to really love me, but….”
“But what?” I asked.
“But I’m not sure he really knows me. What if he’s in love for the wrong reasons?”
I shook my head in disbelief. My friend is smart, attractive, accomplished, warm, and loving. Chances are, this guy knows very well who she is. But if he doesn’t yet, he will…and it would be a tragic mistake to turn him away.
How to Make Your Donors Think Twice
How do nonprofits tell donors, “Don’t love me for the wrong reasons”? Here’s how you do it:
- Don’t show any emotion in your appeal letters.
- Don’t tell any stories.
- Don’t show any pictures–much less, pictures that touch the donors’ hearts.
- Throw statistics at them at every opportunity.
- Talk to living, breathing people the same way you’d answer questions in a grant proposal.
- At all cost, avoid finding out who your donors are and what they really want, and giving it to them. That would just be leading them on.
Your Donors Have Their Own Reasons to Give
Deciding to donate to a cause is an affair of the heart, not just of the head. Honor your donors’ good hearts. Don’t second-guess their motives.
Yes, of course, you should make it possible for donors to find out all the details about you. Make your financial statements public. Give evidence of your impact. If you have a “theory of change,” put it out there, on a back page of your website.
But not in your newsletter, and not in your fundraising appeals!
When you communicate with your donors, it’s like going on a date with the one who loves you. Don’t worry about reasons. “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing.” (Pascal)