Donor-Centric. It’s a term used so frequently in our world, we run the risk of glossing over it without pause for thought about:

  1. What it really means to be donor-centric;
  2. Why not-for-profit organisations should make donor-centricity a strategic priority;
  3. Barriers to donor-centricity: the challenges you face;
  4. How to become more donor-centric; and
  5. The different stages of the donor relationship and how they impact donor-centricity

So, I’m going to address those questions in this next series of blog posts, starting with what does it mean to be donor-centric?

Let’s break it down. The word donor comes from the Latin word ‘donare’ meaning to “give as a gift”. The word centric evolved from the Greek words ‘kentrikos’ and ‘kentron’, meaning “sharp point” and the English word ‘centre’ – centric refers to being “located in or at the centre”.

At a basic level, donor-centric or donor-centricity simply refers to putting your donors at the centre of everything you do.

But, practically speaking, what does that mean exactly?

Simone Joyaux, a leading consultant for nonprofits and NGOs, describes the term donor-centric as “another way of saying building trust”.

Joyaux believes a donor’s relationship with your organisation deepens – or frays – depending on how much trust you can create in three key areas:

  • Trust that donors play an essential, vital, central role in your mission’s success;
  • Trust that your organisation does worthwhile things with donor gifts;
  • Trust that your organisation conducts its operations efficiently.

So putting the donor at the centre of everything you do means do everything you can to build trust, especially in those three areas.

Ian MacQuillin, Director at Rogare, The Fundraising Think Tank provides us with a working definition of what it means to be donor-centric: “An approach to fundraising whereby for-purpose organisations genuinely strive to understand their donors and meet their needs – usually, but not exclusively, through relational marketing approaches and the use of two-way communications – in order to maximise sustainable voluntary income.”

MacQuillin suggests putting the donor at the centre of everything you do means working to understand the needs of your donors, and using this knowledge to promote your cause and communicate with your donors to help maximise donations.

At LemonTree, we believe putting the donor at the centre of everything you do is a combination of both. We define donor-centric as:

“The continual dedication to increasing the depth and breadth of your donor understanding, so you can connect more meaningfully, collaborate more effectively, and – most importantly – genuinely care for your donors in order to create ongoing value exchange, build trust and increase loyalty.”

 I’d love to hear how you and your organisation define the term donor-centric – please comment below or email me.

If you’re on a mission to become more donor-centric, we invite you to join LemonTree’s free Donor-Centricity Collective (DCC) . As a member of the DCC you can share best practice, learn from your peers, keep up-to-date with the latest strategies to become more donor-centric…and be part of a movement to help grow sustainable giving in Australia!

Next up in this series:

  • Why not-for-profit organisations should make donor-centricity a strategic priority;
  • Barriers to donor-centricity – the challenges you face;
  • How to become more donor-centric; and
  • The different stages of the donor relationship and how they impact donor-centricity

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