Friends With Benefits?
Have you ever read a blog post that bothered you so much that you saved it in your email inbox? It happens periodically for me, and this phenomenon occurred two weeks ago with a blog post from Jeff Brooks who writes Fundraising Future Now.
So, there I was drinking my morning coffee and clicking through emails on July 27th, when I came across Jeff’s blog titled “Not all donors are seeking a deeper connection“. Since I consider myself a “disciple” of Penelope Burk (thought leader behind donor-centered fundraising TM and author of Donor Centered Fundraising), my first response to the blog’s headline was “WTF?” Then I clicked open the email and read this:
“We should be prepared to admit that not all donors are as absorbed in our causes as we are. Some of them — maybe most of them — just want to give and be done with it.”
Looking back on the moment, I have to laugh at myself because I was genuinely disturbed and almost had the same reaction as the person in this YouTube video. However, I composed myself and hit the button titled “Mark as Unread” and stewed about it for this long.
I’ve come to this conclusion: Sometimes the human experience allows us to get swept up into an idea so much that it becomes a truism to us (much like Penelope Burk’s idea of donor-centered fundraising TM has become for many fundraising professions).
Even though I’ve come to this conclusion, I still love Penelope Burk and all of the donor research she conducts and shares. I think I’ll even remain in her camp for a little while longer. However, I think I’m going to rent the DVD of Justin Timberlake’s movie “Friends with Benefits” and do some research over the course of the next year. I am open-minded to Jeff Brooks’ hypothesis about some (possibly many) donors only loving your non-profit mission enough to toss you a contribution from time-to-time.
Until I sort through this philosophical fundraising mess, I guess I am going back to the only truism that hasn’t steered me wrong, which is:
“KNOW THY DONOR”
Are you a Penelope Burk disciple? What is your reaction to Jeff Brooks’ blog post? If you run a non-profit organization or interact with donors on a daily basis, what are your thoughts? How do you walk the fine line between donors who want to get married and those who only want to be friends with benefits?
Here is to your health!Erik Anderson Owner, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC firstname.lastname@example.org http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847 http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847 http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847
Posted on August 5, 2011, in Donor-centered fundraising, Fundraising and tagged annual campaign, donor, donor centered, mail appeal, nonprofit, Penelope Burk, philanthropy, resource development, solicitation, stewardship. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.