Thursday, May 10

When donors complain

Jeff Brooks has an excellent article in the May issue of Fundraising Success Magazine. He talks about how fundraisers should react to complaints from donors.

If you were an evil person (which, of course, you aren’t), and you wanted to do serious harm to a nonprofit organization (which, of course, you don’t), here’s an easy way: Find out about its most successful fundraising effort, and complain about it. To really make it work, recruit a few friends to complain about the same thing. Just a handful will do the trick.

Your complaints could set off a flurry of self-destructive activity: campaigns gutted of their motivational power, media buys slashed, lawyers called in to turn clear communications into other-worldly jargon. Fundraising campaigns that motivated thousands of people to give could be scrapped — because a few people complained. I’ve seen it happen!

But why do complaints have so much power? It stems from the nagging fear that the complainers might be right.
He explains that organizations need a sense of self confidence in order to tell the truth and keep donors (and staff) focused on the big picture - the good work done by the organization.

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