Some of the coolest donor-cultivation ideas I've seen have gone nowhere, and I think I know why: They were built on the assumption that donors were as into us as we are into ourselves.
Inspiring Generosity blog looks at that issue at When Building Donor Relationships, Talk is Cheap, with one of the big myths of fundraising: Everyone Loves You:
Despite what we desperately want to believe, most donors don't want a relationship with your nonprofit. The gift comes in the mail because the donor is honoring the request of a friend or colleague, or maybe they want the deduction for their taxes. These donors don't really care about your organization. They just gave you some money.
Yeah, some donors really do want a relationship with you. You know most of them already, because they are major donors, volunteers, or otherwise heavily involved.
Other donors are fanatically connected with your cause, but less so with your organization.
But more, probably most, of your donors -- they just give. It doesn't mean a whole lot to them. You are one of many organizations they give to. They give because something in your fundraising connected.
And that's good enough. Remember, most people don't give at all.
That's why simple, clear, straightforward fundraising that donors can grasp without spending a lot of time and energy always works best.
Aim your fundraising at people who spend less than one minute a month thinking about you. They are where the bulk of the revenue comes from .
Keep the doors open to your fanatics; they are wonderful people, and they'll give more than their share. But there aren't that many of them.