Why fundraisers should take some lessons from stockbrokers

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

I stumbled on an article written for stockbrokers (financial advisors) that I found interesting because it recounted the top three reasons why clients leave:

  1. Poor investment advice
  2. Bad service
  3. Poor communications

Also, it said “People die, move away, divorce. Some leave because ‘It’s not a good fit’.”
All that sounded familiar. Major donors stop giving for those very same reasons. Then it dawned on me that wealthy people make financial transactions with stockbrokers and fundraisers in similar ways. For instance:
Investors don’t give to stockbrokers. They invest in stocks through stockbrokers.
Similarly, donors don’t give to nonprofits. They invest in missions through nonprofits.
With stockbrokers, investors seek to feel good and make money as a result of their engagement, relationship, partnership, and shared vision.
With nonprofits, donors seek to feel good and make an impact as a result of their engagement, relationship, partnership, and shared vision.
Therefore, it’s important that you, your fundraising team and your entire organization think of yourselves as brokers, partners, educators, and facilitators— not fundraisers.
Stockbrokers offer investors opportunities.
Similarly, you, your team and your organization must offer your supporters valuable investment opportunities.
Sometimes those offers should include opportunities for engagement (with you, your staff, your leadership, some beneficiaries of their investments, or others). Why? Because investors want to be involved. They want to know what the heck you’re doing with their money!
Other times, those offers should include opportunities for them to educate themselves.
And sometimes those offers should include opportunities for them to invest some more.
Like a stockbroker, you are their gateway, their bridge, their coordinator, their arranger, their educator, their administrator, their confidant, and even (hopefully) their advisor. Think about it this way and I bet you’ll raise more money more efficiently.


>> Another clever way to motivate your supporters to give
>> Donor offer value checklist

2 responses to “Why fundraisers should take some lessons from stockbrokers”

  1. William Skaggs says:

    Your post and the article are based on the premise of an existing relationship, though another specific word kept coming to mind as I read. That word is trust. Yes, trust was needed to get to the point of a decision to invest. Continued trust, or possible lack thereof, is also implicit in each of the top three reasons listed for why clients (and donors) leave.


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