Let me tell you about a dream I had last night
I wanted to get a burger at 5 Guys. I’ve never had one from there and a new 5 Guys had opened up in our city.
When I went there, it was packed. The line wasn’t out the door, but it might as well have been. I don’t like lines like that. They get stressful and people often get mean. So I started strategizing.
I decided to step outside, call in my order from my cellphone, and relax while it was being prepared.
The problem was…I didn’t have my cellphone. I wracked my brain to figure out where I left it. I also tried figuring out who I knew that would let me use their office phone to make the call.
As I was looking up to get the 5 Guys number off the sign, I realized I already had a burger. And I’d eaten half of it!
I’d been so focused on the seeking, that I hadn’t even realized I’d been munching on my burger. Somewhere along the way, I’d accomplished my goal. But I had such tunnel-vision, I missed it.
Are you over focused on the asking?
June is the end of the fiscal year for many nonprofits. We’re focused on making ends meet and finishing strong. At times like these, asking for money just becomes a habit for us.
So much of a habit that we are almost unable to notice the burger we already have.
Say “thank you”
No matter how your finances look this year, takes some time in the coming week to thank donors. Maybe you could pull the board together and have everyone make 5-10 thank you calls. Sincere thank you’s, not the “we’re-saying-thank-you-as-an-excuse-to-ask-you-for-more.”
You might say something quick like. “Your donations have allowed us to accomplish so much this year. Thank you.”
What about you? Are you enjoying your burger?
I’d love it if you’d share some of your “enjoying the burger” practices in the comments!
I blogged about this dream and the other implications it had on me as a business owner over at my personal blog MarcPitman.com.
Okay, all I could think about at first was that Seinfeld episode where Jerry described the dream he had in which the hamburger was eating him! 😉 Hamburgers aside, we as fund raisers do get so focused on getting the next gift that we overlook the gifts received. Donors aren’t just donors – they’re people and they deserve courtesy. Be sincere in your thanks and relate to them what has been accomplished through their generosity.
LOL. I missed that episode!
Thanks for the great comment. Somehow, you’re “donors are people” line got me singing, “People are people so why should it be you and I should get along so awfully…” 🙂
I have learned over the years that supporters often make their decision to give in the VOID OF TIME between asks. That critical time when many nonprofits do nothing.
I coach the organizations I work with to use that time to get outside the box and connect a supporter with something they may not have seen: the kids at the Y getting swimming lessons, the girl scout troop going to the park and laughing and feeling free, a formerly homeless family moving in to their “new” apartment, accepting food donations at the foodbank.
Pick some “business as usual” event that you allow a few insiders to experience. It jars the supporter and the organization out of the fog of just focusing on the next ask. And it will be something everyone remembers for long after.
Thanking is huge. Not long ago a nonprofit I work with was among 3 that received substantial donations from an organization. They were the only ones that thanked the organization, and trust me, it was noticed.
The only one of the three? Oy.
Good for you guys!
So often, people seem to think that they’re ‘bugging’ their donors when they send out correspondence. In reality though, donors really enjoy (and really want to know) how their gifts are being used. Scheduling in those touch-points throughout the year will increase the chances of people staying supportive for the long run.