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Love, Trust, and Fundraising: Cupid’s Guide to Wooing Donors

Ah, Valentine’s Day, a day full of love, chocolate, and nonprofits asking, “How can we show our donors how much we LOVE them?” Yes, love is indeed in the air, even in the realm of fundraising.

As you navigate through this season of love, think about the important relationships in your life. Whether it’s with humans, furry friends, or devoted donors, strong relationships are built on a foundation of trust.

Trust is more than a big buzz word and more important than ever in the nonprofit world. In fact, nonprofits are in a trust crisis. For the first time in the history of the Edelman Trust Barometer, nonprofits have fallen behind for-profit businesses in public opinion.

So, what determines trust and what can you do about it?

According to Trusted Advisor Associates, the Trust Equation uses four variables to measure trustworthiness: credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation. And the good news is each one can be used as a trust barometer among your supporters, no matter where they are on their donor journey.

  1. Credibility: Are you walking the talk and doing what you said you’d do? If you promised a kennel for homeless pets, did you provide fundraising updates, progress reports, or puppy-filled photos? Donors want to see that that the promise you made that inspired them to open their wallets—and hearts—was fulfilled.
  2. Reliability: Can you be counted on? Reliability goes hand-in-hand with credibility and ensures that you deliver on your promises, keeping that love flame burning bright. Did you promise that kennel by Valentine’s Day? Well, make sure it’s ready to welcome those furry bundles of joy with open arms.
  3. Intimacy: Do you donors feel all the feels? Donors need to feel that warm, fuzzy sensation knowing their support isn’t going to waste. Consistent credibility and reliability leads to your donors feeling confident that you’ll build that kennel. Plus, it leaves them smitten and deepens their desire to support your mission.
  4. Self-Orientation. What’s your motive? Are you in it for the love of animals in your care or just ticking off boxes on your to do list? Donors can sniff out insincerity from a mile away, so make sure your intentions are as pure as a puppy’s love.

People prefer to support organizations that they trust. So, channel your inner Cupid and cultivate those trusting relationships with your donors. Nail the Trust Equation and watch as your supporters fall head over heels for you and your cause. After all, who says fundraising can’t be as charming as a Valentine’s Day card?

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