Why Donors Matter

on in Fundraising

Here we are at Valentine’s Day.

The make-or-break occasion for newly-formed relationships – and pretty important for old ones, too.

Valentine’s Day is all about wooing. Seeking to impress, but also to mark a relationship that, hopefully, is bringing satisfaction to both sides.

To stop for a moment and proclaim, through presents, candlelight dinners, and glasses of champagne: “You matter to me.”

And while the form may be different, our donors need to hear the same message.

In fact, going a little further – we in the nonprofit business need to actually feel the same message.

You (our donors) matter to me.


Sure we pay lip service to the fact that donors matter, but how much of that is because their money matters? Not them, but what they can bring to the organization.

It’s a subtle point. Is there an inherent significance to having “investors” in our organizations, even beyond the resources they bring in?

I think there is. And that their value has to do with a group commitment to a social goal.

Donors are nonprofits’ proof that the goals they are pursuing are held, and appreciated, by individuals a step or two outside the core. That the nonprofit’s message – its cause – resonates with enough people to actually create meaningful social change.

One person alone can’t move a mountain.

But nonprofit staff, with all their specialized skills…and board members, representing the public…and clients, expressing the need…and donors, recognizing the social merit… can.

Nonprofits live within a delicate ecosystem, with many stakeholders. Donors are an important part of that network, not only for the resources they bring but for what they signify about the larger culture’s support for the cause.

So here we are on Valentine’s Day. Maybe we in the sector should subtitle it “Valentine’s Value-Your-Donors Day…”?

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