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What Your Donors Really Want: The Simple Truth

What Your Donors Really Want: The Simple TruthSometimes we spend so much time and effort and energy trying to get all of the systems and materials and research and processes of fundraising right that we plumb forget the most important things.

The Simple Truth about Donors

Your donors—no matter who they are or how much they give—want two things.

  1. They want to know that their gifts make a difference in someone’s life, and ...
  2. They want you to see them for more than just their money.

It can be challenging to let donors know they make a difference and that you appreciate them in the context of the meat-and-potatoes fundraising you do year in and year out.

But capital campaigns are uniquely positioned to help you do just that. And you don’t have to wait 10 or 20 years for your campaign.

Capital Campaigns—A Special Opportunity

Capital campaigns fund projects that are special and often big—like a building or new programs—that will move your organization to the next level of operation, making a difference in more people’s lives.

In a campaign, you will ask donors to make extraordinary gifts, over and above what they usually give, specifically in order to make a big difference. So because of their scope and focus on growth, capital campaigns provide special opportunities to let donors know how their gifts matter.

And, because campaigns rely on larger gifts, many of your requests will be targeted to specific donors and solicited in very personal ways. Through that process, you will have an amazing opportunity to let your donors know that you recognize and appreciate their generosity and not just their money.

Those are great reasons your organization should embark on a campaign at least every decade. Not only do you have an opportunity to raise more money than you might have imagined, but you will have a wonderful chance to raise money to increase your organization’s impact and fully appreciate the donors who give contributions over and above their standard fundraising.

Consider a Mini-Campaign Every Year or Two

But if you don’t have a big building project in the offing, consider doing a mini-campaign every year or two that would fund something special that is above and beyond your regular operating budget.

I promise you, if you ask them, it won’t take your program staff long to come up with a very tangible and specific wish list of items that—if you could raise the money for them—the staff could increase the impact of their programs.

What Your Donors Really Want: The Simple TruthThis post has been reprinted with permission from the Capital Campaign Masters blog. Andrea Kihlstedt is one of the foremost writers and speakers on capital campaign fundraising. Her book Capital Campaigns, Strategies That Work, now in its fourth edition, is one of the primary texts in the field. Her firm, Capital Campaign Masters, helps organizations in the very early stages of planning capital campaigns through online materials and virtual coaching.

Topics: Donor Relations capital campaigns Donor Stewardship Major Donors