What Is #DonorLove? Donor, Don’t Hurt Me!


By Maeve Strathy

I’ve been talking about #DonorLove a lot lately, but what is it?

It’s a lot like being donor-centric. It’s about remembering that the donor is at the heart of everything we do as fundraisers.

So far in my career, I’ve only worked at educational institutions, but I’ve learned that my work isn’t about the school; it’s about the donor. The faculty and administrative staff and the variety of employees that are here to serve students and programs, they’ve got the school covered. I’m serving the donors. That’s what #DonorLove is all about.

#DonorLove has a natural fit with stewardship, for sure. From the moment the donor says yes to making a gift, there are myriad opportunities to show them love. Right then and there, for one thing! A sincere thank you with eye contact and a smile has a powerful effect. An additional thank you call within 48 hours to reinforce your gratitude will be well-received (and has a massive influence on retention). A hand-written thank you letter just for them is another special touch, and there are so many more.

But #DonorLove isn’t just about stewardship. Would it be loving to demand an in-person meeting with a donor if they preferred a phone call? If your planned giving prospect likes getting information by mail, aren’t you only serving your interests by calling them?

Why are you talking about the biggest fundraising priority at your charity when your donor has expressed already that they’re only interested in supporting a specific program?

Why did you make an ask on the first visit to meet your targets when it was clear that the donor would’ve benefitted from a few more discussions about the project you’re asking them to support?

#DonorLove isn’t about the fundraiser or the charity; it’s about the donor. It’s about showing them love and inspiring them to make big things happen with their philanthropy. It’s not about telling them about what you’re going to do with their money, it’s about enabling them to do something big!

We have the opportunity to make a lot of people feel really good about themselves and the world, and for the world to be made better, too.

Tell me how you’re going to show your donors more #DonorLove today!


And while you’re at it, register for The #DonorLove Rendezvous!

It’s taking place on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 in Toronto, and will be a day as fun, inspirational, and creative as fundraisers.

If you are ready for a stimulating day of learning all about putting donors at the heart of what we do, this conference is for you!

Learn more and register at www.donorlove.ca.


Maeve Strathy calls herself a Fundraiser. Full-stop. Right now she is developing the leadership giving program at her alma mater, Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Previously she worked as an Alumni Development Officer at Trinity College School, where she focused on young alumni giving and programming. Maeve is passionate about enabling people to make a positive difference with their money. She’s so passionate about it that she spends her spare time thinking about it, talking about it, and writing about it on her blog, www.whatgivesphilanthropy.com

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