#84 | How do fundraisers navigate tension between a donor and the organization?

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Anyone who has raised meaningful gifts understands the tension between being an advocate for the donor and an employee of the organization. What I found most encouraging about my conversation with Karen was how responsive her organization was to helping her resolve some of that tension.

Karen shared two major donor scenarios in which she could have easily assumed that the doors were no longer open. Instead of giving up, she quickly discovered that the doors weren’t nearly as closed as they seemed. Karen listened closely and found unique ways to advocate for each donor.

In addition to her own insights about navigating complex donor relationships, it is apparent that Karen’s employer has developed a grasp of fundraising’s messy middle. For too long, experts have convinced us that fundraising can function effectively at two extremes - focusing solely on new donors and big gifts. Without a thriving middle lane being navigated by talented fundraisers like Karen, organizations either become overly reliant on new donor acquisition or attempt major fundraising initiatives for which they and their donors are unprepared.

If you want to ensure that your organization can visualize what effective fundraising really looks like, you can download my frameworks here.

Jason Lewis