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  • Writer's pictureThe MSG Team


Summer has been crazy due to, well . . . everything really. It's a shock that astroids have not hit earth yet, although the year is not over yet, so who knows.

One thing the summer has been good for though is grilling. Here is a question for you. When you go to a friend's house, and you see the grilled food laying out on the table . . . what do you tend to hit up first? The burger? Hot Dogs? Ribs? Steak? Chops? Brats? To each their own, right?

Donors have a choice of nonprofits and programs to select from . . . their own outing of burgers and dogs if you will. How well do you pay attention to what they want to "eat"?

This is what often happens with nonprofits. We get so excited about our programs, that we can not wait to tell the world about it. We tell donors about the idea and think they will jump on board. Then we are surprised when the donor does not want to contribute money. The idea was so good though, why would they not want to be part of it? Maybe it was because you did not listen or hear what THEY wanted. Perhaps the conversation went similar to this:

NONPROFIT - Would you like a burger?

DONOR - No a hot dog please.

NONPROFIT - How about a burger? DONOR - No a hot dog please.

NONPROFIT - Please allow me to tell you the history of burgers.

DONOR - I don't really care because I only really like hot dogs.

NONPROFIT - In that case, let me show you this graph showing ground beef production in the USA.

DONOR - I appreciate the effort but I'm not feeling hungry any longer.

NONPROFIT - I made these great burgers, can't believe they don't want any.

Of course this dialogue is a bit simplified but it shows how we sometimes get so caught up in what we are selling that we don't pay attention to what someone might want to invest in. Here are just a few tips next time you talk to a donor about making an investment:

- Gauge their interests and passions and connect that with what you are offering.

- Spend more time listening to them and less time talking

- If possible, try to invite that person on a tour of your place and talk to them about what excites them about it.

At this point you are probably getting the idea. Do you listen to them? Have you done a Community Impact Study? Have you taken their thoughts and suggestions? The more you treat your donors and funders like a PARTNER and less like an ATM . . . the more successful your fundraising will be.

For more information on how Midwest Studies Group can help connect you better with your donors and community, visit us at

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