The real pot of gold: relationships!

Relationships. Donor-Centric. A Culture of Philanthropy.

As people involved in philanthropy and fundraising, we use and hear these words all the time. But what do they really mean in terms of actions?

Your nonprofit needs relationships with donors, board members, volunteers, partners, clients, etc. Relationships are not built in a day. It takes time and several different types of interactions. And most importantly, it takes listening to the other person with whom you are building a relationship. Asking someone for money three times does not build a relationship. Asking them what it is about your organization they are interested in, or what else they are interested in opens the door to a 2-way conversation.  Share information about yourself, and ask about the other person’s family.

Being donor-centric is also about relationships. It means treating a donor as a priority, and treating them as a person, not a checkbook. Find out what they care about. Talk about things other than your nonprofit.

A culture of philanthropy means that the activities described here are not just the territory of the development office. They are how everyone associated with your organization behaves with all the nonprofit’s constituents. It is not about the money, it is about the relationship. When the relationship has been built, has a solid foundation of many experiences, and is multi-dimensional, then the money (or connections or volunteer time) will happen naturally.

Want to discuss more about how to build relationships? Call me for a free initial consultation

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About Susan Suarez

I am a nonprofit management and fundraising consultant. I have 30 years experience in the philanthropic sector including senior level positions in management, fundraising and grantmaking. I started consulting in 2003, working with local nonprofits and with community foundations nationally. My experience as Executive Director of Eden Autism Services Florida, President of the Community Foundation of Collier County, Vice President of Marketing and Development for the Community Foundation Silicon Valley, and Development Director for the American Red Cross in Palo Alto, CA provides a deep background in philanthropy and management to benefit my clients.
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