You Are Not Your Donors
Here’s the challenge about raising money vs. selling tickets. We are all consumers of our own shows – we like to go to them, and we’re very much like the audience we want to attract. So our instincts are generally good in terms of what will motivate people to attend (and enjoy) our events.
When it comes to fundraising, I would venture a guess that the vast majority of fundraisers do not have the capacity to donate money in the same way as the people they are soliciting do. In other words, those who fundraise mostly don’t live in the same world as their donor prospects. These two sets of people see the world differently, and though fundraisers may trust their instincts, they may not understand their donors’ motivations perfectly.
That’s the guiding message in Mary Cahalane’s recent post from her Hands-on-Fundraising blog, recommending that you ask your donors to tell you what motivates them.
You can’t use yourself to take their measure, or guess what they’ll respond to, or know what they like. Because you’re on the inside, your view is different. You see behind the curtain. And that forever changes your perceptions.
It’s easy to survey people today, not enough of us do. We make our decisions based on too little evidence, or gut feelings. That very same reliable gut that tells you which song to use as the background music on your radio ad, is not the same reliable gut that tells you what subject line will get a donor to open your email solicitation. Ask and you shall learn.