Fundraising ADDS value to your donors’ lives

Add value.

A bit of encouragement to Fundraisers…

I hope you see your work as adding incredible value to the lives of your donors.

Too many people look at fundraising and think they are subtracting. They look at fundraising as ‘taking money from donors in order to do something worthy and great.’ They think they are bothering donors with mailings. Or twisting their donors’ arms to make donors give.

But from the donor’s point of view, it’s not subtraction. Great fundraising adds to a donor’s life by connecting their money to their good intentions. Fundraising helps donors put their values into action.

Over our two decades of fundraising, we’ve realized that our jobs are not that much about the money we help raise. It’s really about helping organizations translate how they talk about themselves into fundraising communications – letters and emails and calls that help donors see how a gift puts their values into actions.

Being a great fundraiser is not about being persuasive, or even persuading donors to support an organization.

Being a great fundraiser is really two things:

  1. Knowing what donors value, and
  2. Helping an organization communicate about itself in ways that help donors to see how a gift to the organization helps put the donors’ values into action.

For instance, most donors value ‘doing a lot for a little.’ Lo and behold, matching grants and offers with multipliers that allow donors to ‘do a lot for a little’ work like crazy.

Most donors value hearing about the impact their gift had. Lo and behold, when organizations Report back to their donors about the effects of their gifts, they keep their donors for longer, and they upgrade more of their donors.

So now it’s your turn. Take what you know about donors and use that to change the ways your organization currently talks about itself – translate that into fundraising communications that let donors see how their gifts put their values into action!

And don’t look at your work as subtraction. Look at it as adding real value to the lives of your donors. You’ll connect good people with your good work to make the world a better place for all of us!


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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