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What’s In It For Me: What NGOs should know about their donors

Most successful non-profits excel at anticipating field work realities and challenges. But are we able to read people’s minds? Can we understand what motivates a donor to give? Often, the answer to these questions is ‘no’. We present key donor-relations concepts fundraisers can benefit from. Here are excerpts from Sameer Bhakhri’s informative session on Fundraising hosted by our Knowledge Centre.

What’s In It For Me?: A phrase commonly used by marketers. Its most important function: teaching you to think from the perspective of the donor. We sometimes assume that we know what donors are thinking, or that they share our opinions about the organisation. This may not be so. As Mr. Bhakhri discussed, donors could donate out of a sense of guilt, obligation, convenience or necessity. It’s up to you as a fundraiser to understand the motives as closely as possible.
Segmentation: In a nutshell, dividing your potential market or audience into segments, and then deciding which segment you would focus your energies on. Sameer Bhakhri led participants through identifying potential corporates for CSR funding. Yes, the world is your oyster, but that isn’t going to guarantee you results. Start by making a list of potential leads, then shortlist that list into groups based on who you are likely to experience the most success with. This section would be the segment you focus your efforts on.
Branding: If marketing is what you say about your organisation, then branding is what people say about you. Let your branding flow from your organisation’s USP, and have it describe what your organisation does better than competitors. A strong brand means people already have a memory of your organisation without you having to introduce it to them.
Acquire, Retain, Grow: It can cost up to 7 times more to acquire a new donor as compared to retaining an old one. Set targets at the beginning of the year as to how many donors you hope to retain at the end of the year, and what you have to do to hit that number. Planned and continuous efforts like a newsletter, thank you letter and non-donation related interactions are likely to keep donors supporting you.

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