Creating donor magic isn’t easy – if it was everyone would be doing it. However, if you can get it right then it will give you a natural competitive advantage. There are two main barriers that consistently get in the way of making it happen and this week i'm going to look at the first of them - lack of time and resources.
Barrier 1: Lack of time and resources
The e-mails flow in, the phone doesn’t stop ringing, the letters keep coming and a ‘catch 22’ situation occurs: if you spend your time trying to create donor magic then you won’t have time to do the transactional stuff, if you don’t do the transactional stuff then any donor magic efforts will be wasted.
So what’s to give?
Let me be clear: you should strive to get to the situation where every donor encounter improves the relationship, but day-to-day realities mean this is hard to achieve.
However, there is a compromise. Instead of trying to create donor magic for everyone, to begin with you should aim to create it for your ‘true fans’ – those people who respond to every appeal, always turn up to open days, volunteer on a regular basis and have strong opinions (though they don't necessarily always agree with you) on what you do.
These people can become what Malcolm Gladwell calls our ‘mavens’ and ‘connectors’ or who Seth Godin describes as ‘sneezers’: people who spread ideas and recommendations through communities.
They aren’t necessarily the richest or most generous, but they are the people who seem to know everyone or are the people others turn to for advice and recommendations.
Concentrate on creating donor magic for these people first and they will naturally recruit new donors and do much of the work for you. However, these people can be hard to please and you have to be willing to give up a little bit of control (which can be scary) and give them the tools and resources that empower them to spread the word about your nonprofit.
If you can get this right then you will form a powerful tribe of supporters and create a movement of support for your work.