Seen, Known and Loved


Brené Brown says,

“What differentiates humans as a social species is the need to be seen, known, and loved.”

This is true of nonprofits, too.  Each nonprofit wants to be seen, known, and loved.

And this, my friend, is part of why effective fundraising is so hard to create.

The nonprofit itself wants to be seen, known, and loved by donors, non-donors, staff, partner organizations, the community, etc. So the nonprofit creates fundraising that helps donors see the organization, and know how the organization does its work, and shares how compassionate and effective the organization is so that donors will love the organization.

But there’s a problem.  The humans (individual donors) who receive that fundraising also want to be seen, known and loved. 

In fact, those individual humans are more interested in being seen, known and loved themselves than they are interested in seeing, knowing and loving a nonprofit.

So, remember the fundraising that the nonprofit created to make itself seen, known and loved?  It’s not going to be relevant to most donors.  It’s not going to be as engaging to the donor, and it’s not going to raise as much money.

The big idea is for nonprofits to create fundraising that sees, knows and loves their individual donors.  (With boundaries, of course.)

Because here’s the magic… 

If a nonprofit makes the generous choice to create fundraising that makes its donors feel seen, known and loved, then more donors respond with more generosity. 

If an organization can first meet their donors’ needs, then the donors are more likely to meet the organization’s needs.    


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *