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Book Review: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

Categorising Major Donors and What Annoys Them About Fundraisers

I attended the Institute of Fundraising’s ‘Maximising Fundraising Potential for Long Term Results’ and 'Strategies for Supporter Retention’ half day conferences on Friday 25th September.

I’ve put together some notes and comments on my three favourite sessions and I’ll post them all in the next few days.

First up, Elizabeth Loudon from Prospero Partners presented some interesting research on major donors talking about fundraisers and what fundraisers don’t do.  The list is a bit of an embarrassment.

According to her research, in major donor’s opinion fundraisers don’t:

  • Listen
  • Report back
  • Say thank you
  • Take care of resources
  • Stop asking for money

 However, despite this they still tend to like us!

She also reminded us that fundraisers need to build relationships and not friendships with donors, as at some point you are going to have to ask for money and it can be hard to ask friends for money.

Elizabeth also provided a (basic) but useful framework for trying to classify major donors.  The framework helps understand their motivations and can help formulate strategies you can employ for engaging them.

Her four categories were:

  • Joiners: very sociable and affiliate themselves with a large number of organisations and don’t develop deep connections.
  • Saviours: give to try and save the world.  Respond well to emergencies.
  • Investors: people who want to see a social return on their gift.  Good reporting back to these donors is vital.
  • Dealers: people who might have non-philanthropic reasons for giving and look what is in it for them. Not necessarily bad as can open a lot of doors and have great contacts.

 A good session and you find some more useful downloads here.


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