Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Donor Relations Mantra

Many times when I go to visit folks on their campuses, I learn a great deal about my own perspectives on donor relations than in my everyday work. I think sometimes we are so close to our own work, and we care so much that we can often get lost in the forest of ideas. Often, it's a simple spark, a basic idea or mention of something that delighted a door that sparks the greatest ideas.  As I interpret what choices to make as we innovate or take on new projects I have a very simple mantra that guides all of my decision making.  I hope you will adopt something similar in your areas. My donor relations mantra is: "does this benefit our donors?" If it doesn't benefit a donor, we don't do it. You could cross apply this to alumni or constituents as you like. 
This mantra could also help those of you who have difficulty saying "no" to new projects or ideas. I think for many of us, we have people who are always saying, if you could just do this, or can't you add that, which is not only frustrating because people aren't being respectful of the fact that you have other things to do, but it also is a fundamental breakdown in the idea that donor relations is not reactionary but is proactive and strategic.
I won't add anything to our plate unless it benefits the donors, period. At the end of the day, that's our purpose and mission in careers and for some of us life.  At every turn, we must challenge assumptions that the activities we are performing are meaningful and strategic, the best return on investment and use of our time. The one simple line of if it doesn't benefit our donors, we don't do it, vastly simplifies this. 
What is your donor relations mantra?

In that turn, I hope you will join me in the recently launched Pulse of Donor Relations survey,the first of its kind which will greatly help others understand our profession. Anecdotal information isn't enough. 
Participation is vital as we evaluate the evolving role of donor relations. It take no more than 15 minutes of your time and will help many of your colleagues. Areas covered: acknowledgments, recognition, communication, gifts, policies, reporting, events and much more. Participants will receive results and a whitepaper analysis. We have over 400 plus participants already and our goal is 1000 so please share this with everyone you know! 

Join me here:

Thanks again and cheers,

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