Are You Reporting Donor Impact to Your Staff?

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By Jeff Schreifels

You know how Richard and I are always talking to you about reporting back to your donor the impact their gifts are making, right? And the reason we do it is that the lack of reporting back is still the No. 1 reason why donors stop giving to you.

In our experience, the type of relationship you have with your program staff is one key element of reporting back on impact. These are the people on the front lines that carry out the mission of your organization, and if you don’t have a solid relationship with the program team, you will find it difficult to produce quality program impact reports to your donors.

But the relationship you have with the program team has to be a two-way street. You can’t just expect program staff to supply you with the information you need to report back to donors without giving them context and your own donor impact report.

Yes, you heard me right.

Great front-line fundraisers build solid relationships with program folks, and part of the relationship-building process is reporting back to the program team what donors are thinking and saying about the work they are doing. And what an impact that work is making on the donor.

Yes, the donor is making an impact on your organization, but your organization is making an impact on the donor!

So, it’s not just about getting stories from the field so that your donors can be inspired by the work that your organization is carrying out, your program staff also has to hear donor stories about why donors are giving, what they think about the impact program is making and how that affects the life of your donor.

You see how this would benefit your program staff? And, quite frankly, not just your program staff, but your entire staff.

Major donors that are investing in your organization want to know your staff, how they carry out the mission, how creative they are, why they are motivated to do this work. And your staff wants to know the same things about the donors that are funding the work.

Richard and I will guarantee you that if you can report back to program folks and staff about the impact your organization is having on donors, they will be much more willing to report back to donors the impact that your mission is having on making the world a better place to live.

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