Donor Disconnect

  • Posted on: 9 December 2010
  • By: Margaux
Bridge to nowhere

Katya Andresen recently posted about the "Great Gaping Disconnect" between what people are HOPING FOR when they donate to a nonprofit, and what they (usually) actually GET when they donate. She says:

What people want when they support a cause:

  • To make a difference
  • To feel personally connected to something greater than themselves
  • To feel useful
  • To get the warm glow of giving

What people get when they support a cause:

  • A tax receipt
  • Statistics, facts and figures
  • A newsletter
  • An appeal to give (more) money

My thoughts:
If donors read the newsletter -- if they pore over the statistics, facts and figures -- then they may synthesize all the data and get the feeling that they've made a difference, that they're useful and personally connected. But as nonprofits we are putting a lot at risk if we depend on them to do that. Most people are so busy they don't even OPEN email newsletters, much less study the contents.

If our donors don't feel connected and important throughout the year, then they will probably feel annoyed when they get that appeal for more money. Can we afford to risk that?

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