This ‘news’ item from The Onion, Man Has Loyalty To Pretzel Brand, is of course a spoof.

But the truth behind it is that people can develop a passion, and with that, loyalty, for all sorts of things … even a pretzel brand.

The initial attraction might be entirely accidental or casual. Roger cited nonprofit communications guru Tom Ahern the other day writing that mostly he gives because he’s asked.

Not many would-be donors wake up in the morning with some burning desire to do good by making a charitable contribution. But there must be something buried in that donor that’s awaiting to be stirred.

And, whatever causes the individual to plant the first kiss upon that lucky charity, there is potential for the relationship to turn passionate … and for loyalty to blossom.

What needs to happen for that to occur?

For all the talk about ‘donor-centric’, I submit that something needs to happen on the organisation’s side of the encounter. The organization needs to do something that causes the first-time, casual, experimental donor to transfer some of their positive feelings about giving — feelings about themselves and the cause/purpose for which they’ve given — to the organization.

For repeat giving to occur, the experience of giving through that particular organization has to itself become emotionally rewarding. Otherwise the donor will simply move on to another ‘suitor’ for their attention and money.

So, your organization does need to sell itself. Nothing evil about that. You can’t ignore that fact that others are wooing your new love interest. How to establish that you are the one? How to win their passion?

My advice — don’t be one of those organisations that simply talks about itself. How many ‘dates’ do you think that will last?!

Instead, focus on delivering a great experience in every further encounter. Focus on reinforcing the donor’s feeling that they matter … indeed that they are the reason you exist.

Too smarmy?

Remember, the relationship is: donor > cause > you. In that order.

Not: cause > you > donor. Or even worse: you > donor > cause!

Oops … does this sound like back to donor-centric?!

On the one hand, donors are not going to get passionate about every organization they give a gift to; it’s just not in the cards.

On the other hand, they will get passionate about the occasional one, and whether that’s your organization is up to the way you handle yourself, especially in those first couple of dates.

What are you doing to inspire your donors to be passionate about your organization?


This article was posted in: Donor retention / loyalty / commitment.
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