“Our organization exists so that donors can help these girls”


I recently spent an hour talking to a founder of a nonprofit who totally gets it.

His organization provides schooling for girls in Africa.

We got to talking about fundraising (surprise, surprise) and I mentioned the principle of donor-centered fundraising.

He said the best thing any Founder has ever said to me:

“Our organization exists so that donors can help these girls.”

I just sat there and grinned widely.

Because how great is that? That one belief – that the organization exists so that donors can help – will be an incredible driver of fundraising success.

They will just skip right by all the pitfalls of talking too much about the organization itself. Of making the organization the hero.

Of relegating donors to mere “partners.”

I told him about the raw fundraising power of his belief, and how it was going to make his fundraising more effective.

He said, “Well, I knew I loved being able to provide schooling for the girls that I was able to help. I figured other people would love it too. So I’m creating a way to help more donors do that – which of course helps more girls.”

The Truth He Knew

This guy knew another powerful truth.

Most of your donors are more interested in your cause or beneficiaries – and what they can do to help – than they are interested in your organization.

In other words, he knows that his donors will enjoy sending a girl in Africa to school more than they would enjoy being a supporter of his organization.

So he’ll focus his communications on how the donor can send a girl to school in Africa instead of focusing it on his organization and how the donor can support them.

And he’ll raise more money.

How Different Would Your Communications Be?

If your nonprofit were to adopt this attitude – even if it’s just your fundraising that adopts the stance – how would your donor communications change?

Try writing your next appeal as if you were writing to donors, telling them about something they care deeply about – and offering them a chance to make a powerful change that they are going to love doing. You’ll love how well it works!


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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