I have a friend who served as the chief fundraiser at several different nonprofit organizations. Recently, he penned an open letter to donors to share what feels like a divide between nonprofits and donors. He posed the question, “Is there a way around what seems like natural disconnects between two groups who on the surface seem on opposite sides but at the core have the same interests?”
Is he right? Is there a divide between the two? Do you feel a divide between your interests as a donor and theirs – raising funds to deliver services? Why do you think it feels like a disconnect for the nonprofit?
My friend chose three words to describe how nonprofits feel – gratitude, fear and hope.
Gratitude is what you expect. Nonprofits are deeply thankful for your support. Knowing you can’t give to everyone means their appreciation runs even deeper.
Hope is the two-way street on which each expects to make a difference. They hope you see their dedication to the cause just as they see your passion that makes the work possible.
It’s the second word – fear – that donors and nonprofits don’t talk about. My friend believes nonprofits fear disappointing you. Are you disappointed from time to time?
- How often are you disappointed by a nonprofit?
- What does disappoint you?
- How often is the information you seek difficult to find or disappointing when you find it?
I think it happens more often than we admit. What do you think?
More importantly how often do you admit to disappointment or maybe frustration with a nonprofit?
My friend wishes you knew how nervous they are about the answers to these questions.
Returning to hope, he hopes you’ll understand how hard they work to do their best. I know it’s true; you know it’s true. Don’t let disappointment keep you from communicating because that’s when giving can reach its true potential.
I love the spirit of my friend’s questions and his desire to bridge the divide. I believe that straight talk between nonprofits and donors will build the bridge.