Donor's don't need another best friend!

About a week ago, I was able to do a Twitter chat on “loving your donors” and showing them appreciation. You can read a transcript here:

Do you have to answer donors' questions?

One of the interesting turns in the Twitter chat was around specific ways to best show appreciation for donors. I unexpectedly found my hackles raised when someone tweeted “answer their questions.”

I think I got a bit riled up because I’ve lost gifts trying to answer questions. I forgot that my job wasn’t to answer their questions about my nonprofit. My job was to raise money for my organization. Not to be the “answer man.”

The problem of losing focus

When we get our eyes off the goal, we lose focus. If a donor keeps coming up with questions or objections, you can easily say, “If I can answer this to your satisfaction, is it the only thing standing in between you and making a gift?”

I’ve done it and it works. It helps donors refocus on the difference they can make. And it gets you off the treadmill of never-ending-questions.

Donors want to be good stewards

I’ve seen development professionals squander meager nonprofit resources by confusing donor retention with being a concierge. They get embarrassed about “fundraising” and instead focus on “friendraising.”

As the Twitter conversation went on, I tweeted:
Image of a twitter chat tweet "Donor's are not looking for another best friend!"

Donors don't need another "best friend." They work hard for their money & want it to make a difference. We need to show it is.

Do you agree? I find it freeing to realize I don’t need to answer every question or make everyone a friend. I can’t control whether they’ll like me or not. But I can control whether I make an ask. And do the follow up.

This week, focus on what you can control. Get out there and ask people for money!

Fundraising Kick: asking those who intimidate you
Over much of this month, I’ve been teaching my Fundraising Kick members about how to ask people that scare them. If you’d benefit from these emails, check them out at:

About Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the CEO of The Concord Leadership Group, the author of Ask Without Fear! and director of The Nonprofit Academy. A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.
To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to

What would you add?