DONOR CARE | The Best Nonprofits Have This but Aren't Leveraging It

publication date: Jul 26, 2022
author/source: Sheree Allison

Because it's 2022 and you're presumably addicted to your smartphone (most everyone is), I'm going to assume you have some very basic technology in place at your nonprofit - a database and email.

Let's also assume you have a digital way for donors and volunteers to transact with you outside business hours.


Now tell me - who is following up, and how long is that response time?

Three decades ago, donors were saying, "I sent in a donation and I never heard anything back."

What you needed then was a pen, paper, an envelope, and a postage stamp.

Today, donors are saying exactly the same thing, and the excuse is, "Oh my inbox is so full, I didn't get to that."

Same issue, different decade.

Technology is supposed to solve this, right?

It isn't. Not even a little bit.

Instead, technology has become an excuse to ignore everyone who wants to do business with you.

It's high time you looked through the eyes of a giver.

Auto-replies, URL redirects and autoresponders are tolerated because the transaction was confirmed.

But without human follow-up, that kind of technology tells the donor, the volunteer and the customer that nobody cares.

Reminder: We are human beings doing human work.

Technology is part of a loop, and you have to work the entire loop.

Like it or not, how long it takes for your organization to follow up is the first indicator of how much interest you have in anyone who contacts you.

The bar is so insanely low today that even an average effort can win this game.

Small and midsize shops love to tell me how they can't afford this or that platform, this or that network, this or that subscription service, this or that database program.

Here's the ugly truth about that...

Affording technology is sort of like owning a pet.

Organizations want it, but they don't want the work once they get it. (And they'll never say that out loud.)

Organizations know it'll take someone for input, someone to sanitize it, someone to create content, and someone to send that content out.

"It takes so long. We don't know what we're gonna get back if we do that."

FACT: Investing your time over a long period of time pays huge dividends.

If your current efforts aren't paying off the way you'd like them to, ask yourself when you decided to play the short game - and how that's going for you.

If an Excel database is the tool you have, keep it accurate, clean and up to date.

If an email inbox is the tool you have, treat it like the powerful gateway it is.

How are you going to use what you have?

The person interacting with your organization is what matters.

Do it on time, do it friendly, and do it with purpose.

Home page photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash.


Sheree Allison merges the worlds of fundraising, marketing, and leadership combined with an entrepreneurial spirit to train and develop nonprofit leaders who are committed to building a world class organization. Connect and learn more about her "rags to riches" nonprofit success story, her book, and her weekly column at

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