If you’re not “the boss” and feel like you’re the only one who recognizes the need for your organization to be more donor-centred, can you influence change?
Yes! Absolutely. You can be a Donor Advocate.
You are a major stakeholder in moving the org towards focusing more on donor interests, concerns, needs, passions. You know that the happier donors are, the more money you and the organization will raise, the more successful you can be at your job, and the happier you will be. And you can share in the joy of changing the world for the better.
Here’s a simple plan to influence change:
1. Take a leadership interest in donor stewardship. Be curious. Constantly ask questions of your colleagues. Find out how which donors the direct marketing team targets – who do they mail or call? Who do they exclude? Do they respect donor requests not to receive mail? Who welcomes new donors? Provide your colleagues with any donor feedback you might have.
2. Set an example. For example, if your key function is to enter gift data into the database and you notice that a donor has given a much larger gift than in the past – pick up the phone and call to spontaneously say “Wow! Thank you so much!” If you see a donor in the reception area, pause to greet her/him and express appreciation for her/his support.
3. Show colleagues you care about donor retention. Work collaboratively with colleagues to improve overall stewardship. For example, if no-one else is nurturing known planned giving donors, make it your mission to do so. If there is a Planned Giving Officer on staff who is taking care of known planned giving donors, then help identify and prospective planned giving donors by staying alert to the things donors say and the way they write. Keep your ear to the ground and alert colleagues to any disgruntled donor.
4. Educate colleagues in supporter-centricity. Share blogs, links, articles, books.