I’m worried about fundraisers who get too excited about Giving Tuesday.
Yesterday I received Giving Tuesday emails from a bunch of charities and I was surprised at how self-centered and disrespectful they were. That led me to wonder if December might be when nonprofits end up losing a ton of donors as a result of their abuse of the permission bestowed upon them by their donors (investors).
I’m not the only one feeling this way. Tom Belford (a.k.a the Agitator) conveyed similar concerns in his post on the subject yesterday.
I’m worried because:
The emails I received yesterday from my beloved charities were uninspiring (at best) and downright offensive (at worst)— and that made me sad.
Here’s a quick story about one in particular. First, as many of you know, the disease that inspired me to develop Engagement Fundraising is diabetes. Yet, recently one of my diabetes-related charities sent us a half dozen recipes that mostly included loads of sugar in the instructions. Sugar!?! My wife can’t eat sugary deserts. She almost broke into tears as she silently passed the letter and accompanying recipes to me. “Good grief!” I thought to myself.
Then yesterday I received an email from the Chairman of the same organization. I held my breath thinking that, perhaps, he got so many complaints about the recipes that he figured he ought to apologize. But that was not the case. Instead, it was an email about Giving Tuesday that didn’t recognize who I was by name even though I’ve been supporting their cause for decades and also previously told them they were in my will.
Their Giving Tuesday email challenged me to help the organization “finish the year strong” without giving me anything in return. It felt like a very organization-centric appeal.
Of course, I support them because I want them to find a cure for diabetes. I don’t support them so they can achieve a vague, ambiguous, one-time, short-sighted, unnamed, monetary goal. To me, it was a pretty selfish appeal that did more damage than good. It disrespected me by ignoring who I was and it abused our relationship.
Did they lose me as a donor? No. I’m too committed to their cause. My wife and I desperately want them to find a cure.
But, did they lose a bunch of other supporters? Maybe. Probably. And, because I’m so committed to the mission, that’s what worries me most.
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