Seeing Donors As They May Not Be


Assumptions are funny. Many times we don’t even know we have them and yet they provide us with fundamental models on how we view and respond to the world.

Watch this quick video link of Derek Sivers from the TED Conference:

What are the assumptions that your organization holds about its donors?  Here are 5, negative assumptions I’ve seen organizations hold:

  1. Our donors are not very generous, we have to really work to get them to increase their giving.
  2. Our community doesn’t fully appreciate our services.
  3. Our donors are too busy to get involved with us.
  4. Our Board should understand our situation and give more generously.
  5. Our donors are not interested in reading our materials.

Do any of these sound familiar?

The real issue, it seems to me, is, first, to identify and understand our assumptions, and then recognize that another assumption – perhaps even the opposite – may be true.

Second, if you were to think of the opposite of the above assumptions, how might you respond and behave differently to your donors?

Our assumptions may or may not correct.  I’m less concerned about taking the time to find out if they are correct – especially our negative assumptions.  I am more concerned with taking the most positive assumption we can hold and correspond our actions with that assumption.  Because there is another assumption that is worth our consideration:

People usually try to live up to our expectations.

Why not assume the best of our donors?  Those positive assumptions just may end up being true.

Onward and Upward!


Leave a Reply

Using Gravatars in the comments - get your own and be recognized!

XHTML: These are some of the tags you can use: <a href=""> <b> <blockquote> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>