Can a fundraiser learn relationship building from a bank?

Banks… you might hate yours… you might feel ambivalent about yours… you may even love yours… but do you leave yours? Rarely.


Banks know that once you’re in… once you have the checking and the savings and the direct deposit and the credit card and the line of credit and the home equity loan and the brokerage service and the…. it’s too complicated to leave. They own you.

They spend a lot on building that relationship because they know that besides a tenth of a percentage point or two, what they offer is just the same as what the bank across the corner offers.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you manipulate your donors so that they give even while they hate you. However, I do want you to look at all the ways that you build your relationship. What have you invested to keep your donors?

Do your donors get “insider” information? Do they feel special when they give to you for the first time? Do you celebrate their successive years of support with a small token? Can they get access to information on your mission (which is really their mission) that they can pass along to their friends?

See, like the bank, you can’t afford to be a “just another charity on the corner” to them. You need your donor to “own” you.

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