Greetings!  Once again, I am proud to bring you an article by a guest author who has lots of experience working for the benefit of non-profit organizations.  John Haydon (pictured at left) is the man behind and InboundZombie, which is the site for his social media consulting business.  John specializes in helping non-profits “increase awareness, amplify engagement, and get more donations online.”  I think those are goals that most non-profits would aim for!

John has also written an e-book, called “The Complete Facebook Guide For Small Nonprofits”, which is free to download, if you “Like”  his Facebook page.

I discovered John’s blog while doing research on how to use Facebook more effectively for non-profits.  His name and e-book popped up first on the Google results page, so I know this guy has some juice!  Once I started reading his blog, I was highly entertained by his unique take on many issues we all deal with in the non-profit world.  Below I have posted a sample piece of his, called “Your Donor is Not a Tomato Plant”.   I think it’s a great way to think about so-called “donor cultivation”.

I hope you enjoy this article and I encourage you to check out John’s site when you get the chance.  I’m sure you will learn something and have a good time doing it!  Thanks, John!

Your Donor is Not a Tomato Plant, by John Haydon

Nonprofits have created a false dichotomy between organization and donor – an unintentional “us vs. them” mentality.

I’m not sure where this comes from, but donors are still mostly seen as a “target market” who receive “messaging” in order for them to give more money. And it’s the non-profit’s job to spam send those messages.

Donors are not tomatoes to be “cultivated”

Another thing we hear a lot is that we have to “cultivate” donors, as if they are tomato plants who have nothing better to do than make ketchup.

You are not a farmer. Your donors are not tomato plants. And I know you know this!

In reality, you and your donor are equal parts in something much greater.

Check out this graph that John at Agents of Good created to visualize a donor-centric approach to fundraising:

You’ll notice that John clarifies the relationship between donor and org in a way everyone can understand.

And if you flip this chart around to the donor’s perspective, you’d get this chart (ignore my ahhtwork):

Nirvana is when you and your donor are one

The point here is to remember (because you already know) that your donor and you feel the same way about your cause. They want the same ownership you do. They want the same level of involvement. They want the same impact.

The next time you have a staff meeting, bring John’s diagram and ask the following questions:

  • Does the content on our website honestly speak to our supporters?
  • What opportunities are we unknowingly withholding that we can hand over to our supporters?
  • Do supporters know – without a doubt – how their contribution impacts the cause?
  • What other ways can your supporters fight alongside your org?

Posted on 19 January 2011

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