This week, I read a post by the very insightful Veritus Group. In the post, they asked,”When you think of your donor, do you first think of them as a source of cash – as a way to reach the goals you have set?”
This question indeed touched a cord in me. How many organization believe that donors are ATMs. We go to them; we ask them for a certain amount of money, we get the gift, and we get a receipt.
I have worked for organizations that think donors are partners. How refreshing. And, then I have worked for organizations, that think donors are money as in the “We need money now!” donor.
I have a difficult time hearing donors referred to in this way. I can’t conceivably fathom such talk about another human being, mainly relating to them as if they were a transaction and not a living, breathing person with feelings, and beliefs, and values.
Over my career, donors have personally “cared” for me and my well-being. When I have been traveling, they have provided me with dinner. We I was in a new town, they ensured that I got home safely. When I was sick, they called. We built relationships. We were people connecting for a higher purpose. The “Show me the money attitude” just doesn’t work for me.
Do you view your donors as mere money machines? Do you love your donors just as much as they love your mission? Do you believe that donors should be treated with worth and dignity?
Ethically, I asked myself, would I as a donor want to be thought of or treated in such a transactional way? I couldn’t answer yes.
We are in a noble profession. We transform communities; ourselves, and the donor through the process of fund development. That is what I believe in about what I do.
And, ethically, I can’t operate otherwise.
Donors give to us because we have the highest ethical standards to do what is right. Trust is the basis of all we make possible.
Perhaps we need to revisit the “Donor Bill of Rights” and ensure that there is a clause in there about “to be treated as I would want to be treated by another, not as a machine, but as a person who has beliefs in and the capacity to support a mission.”
As a fundraiser, what I want remembrance for is my success on the job, both monetarily and ethically.