At some point during the 9 WOW Institutes I was a part of my great friend and colleague Jay Goulart would say, “It’s all about the love.”
A lot happened during those 4 day-experiences in beautiful Henniker, New Hampshire, but when all was said and done it really did come down to love; loving your donors; loving your mission; loving what you do; and equally important is for you and your team to love being at your organization. If you nailed the love, then you had the opportunity to create a culture of philanthropy that turns donors into lovers of your mission.
But how do you measure love? Is it money? Time? Those certainly can be indicators of commitment, but people can, and do, give of their time and treasure without so much as a smile on their faces. Rather than love, fundraisers can use guilt, peer-pressure, or a sense of obligation. Do any of those warm your heart?
There are a number of definitions of love – some of course don’t apply while others get pretty close to the giving experience:
- warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
- the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
- unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
If you are raising money for a school, enthusiasm and devotion could manifest itself as being a season ticket holder or attending multiple reunions. Volunteering at the soup kitchen, not just on holidays, but throughout the year would demonstrate an unselfish and benevolent concern.
Social media has provided an opportunity to see first-hand how a donor speaks about the missions they support. Do they tell their friends about how they admire your work? Are they sharing their devotion to your mission with others?
When you start to really dig into your donor retention numbers you will find what separates the people who give and go from those that give and give is their love for your mission. It is hard to measure, but well worth the effort.
P.S. I realize I’m on a bit of a Beatles binge, but hey if you are going to binge on something the Beatles are a pretty good choice.