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Donor Magic Series: What is 'donor magic'?

This is the second post in my series on what I call 'donor magic'.  This week i'm looking at my definition of donor magic and what it helps achieve.

Magic Bunnies

What is donor magic?

 I’ve already given one example of what donor magic is, but here is another story that gives a practical example of it in action:


This story comes from a U.S. capital appeal for a modern art gallery.  Often the contributions made by major donors are recognised by plaques, clocks, mementoes etc, but these can become a bit staid and run of the mill.  The gallery fundraising director wanted to do something different and creative.  Instead of the usual items, he got some local up and coming artists to donate a number of original artworks to present to major donors.

How great is that?


An item that is relevant to the appeal and a permanent reminder of the donation that the person made. When the art is hanging on the wall at the donors home or office it is going to constantly remind them about the gallery and is likely to be a talking point for guests/colleagues etc and generate lots of positive word of mouth.


Next time they want to donate to an art related project, who are they going to approach  first?


So, donor magic happens when the fundraiser does something that goes beyond the expected and transactional when dealing with a donor.


My working definition is:



Donor magic: An encounter with a donor that exceeds expectations and prompts the donor to:


·        Increase their support (both financially & non-financially) of your organisation.

·        Tell other people about the positive experience.


What does donor magic achieve?


If you can create donor magic on an on-going sustainable basis then you will increase the loyalty, commitment and engagement of your supporters. Ultimately this will lead to more funds being raised for your charity.


It will also attract new donors, as donor magic will create positive word of mouth and recommendations from supporters.  Research has repeatedly shown that personal referrals and recommendations are the most trusted sources of information.

Simply put creating donor magic is critical for successful fundraising and next week I will be looking at how you get the basics of donor magic right.