05 Jul The 4 Little Foxes Of Donor Relationships
“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom” Song of Songs 2:15.
It’s the little things that drive wedges between you and your donors. The Bridegroom warned his Bride to catch the little foxes that would spoil their vine. In a marriage, the little differences that drew you and your spouse together can become huge annoyances if you neglect to apply love in liberal doses.
Your donor relationships are susceptible to these four little foxes:
Lack of communication is at the heart of every failed donor relationship. The problem really is lack of listening. Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Listen to your donor more than you speak. You will learn something important about their heart.
Donors believe that you will use their gift for what you say you will. Unfortunately, when budgets get tight ministry leaders are often tempted to find ways to apply designated gifts to undesignated budget items. These gymnastics may cover short-term needs but will often create long-term donor problems.
Lack of Empathy.
We focus on our program and our financial needs so much that sometimes we forget to show love and compassion. A donor shared the sad story that his employee had just embezzled $150,000. Wisely, the donor representative, who was prepared to ask for $150,000 gift, kept his proposal in his folder for another day and focused on encouraging the donor in his loss.
Taking Donors for Granted.
If every conversation you have with your donors is to ask for money, you will quickly burn your relationships. Don’t treat your donors like ATM machines; just push a few buttons and out pops money. Donors know when you only appreciate them for what they have and what they can give, instead of who they are.
The best way to keep these little foxes in check is with two little words: time and love. Spend time with your donors and genuinely love them. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Have a Spirit-led fundraising week!
Ron Haas, Vice President of The Timothy Group, has also served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.