Yeah, I thought. That's how she thinks about HER relationship with THEM. I wonder if she knows what they think of their relationship with her. Do they find value in it?
Turns out that maybe these rock solid relationships might be less secure than she realized. So here are a few questions to ponder as you evaluate your relationships with, let's say, your top 10 donors.
- Do your donors see you as a partner? Do they come seeking specific advice or strategic options or do they just listen to you when you seek additional gifts?
- Do your donors think they are achieving value for their gift? Maybe even the possibility of supporting a breakthrough in your work? Will there be any impact on their charitable giving because of it?
- If another organization doing work like yours approached them would they replace you? Would they talk with you about the options and differences? Would they even admit to you that others are approaching them?
- Do your donors recommend you and your work to others? Only when asked? Proactively? Never? Why do they do whichever it is that they do?
Liz realized that her perception of donor relationships was based on how SHE felt about THEM. And she had no real idea of what they thought of her. She'd never thought of them as partners, or strategic allies to help her think about ideas. She had no idea if they found personal value as a donor working with you other than supporting a cause they like.
Donors are people. And people relate to, value and partner with other people, not causes or organizations. Do you know what a few of your best donors really think about you?