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The Golden Rule of Fundraising

The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. This philosophy also holds true for how we should treat our donors. People are more likely to give to a cause when they feel that their own needs and interests are being considered. In other words, if you want someone to donate to your cause, you need to show them how their donation will help them achieve their own goals.


One of the key elements of effective donor relations is empathy. When reaching out to potential donors, it's important to understand their motivations, values, and interests. By taking the time to understand what drives them, you can customize your message to their specific needs and show them how your cause aligns with their own values. By focusing on the donor and their wishes, you are following the golden rule and best practices.


Another important aspect of the Golden Rule is clear communication. Your messaging should be straightforward and easy to understand, highlighting the benefits of supporting your cause. This can include things like the impact your organization has made so far, the positive changes that a donation can help bring about, and the positive impact that a donation can have on the donor's own life.

Follow Up

Timely follow up with your supporters after they have made a donation is crucial. Best practice is to acknowledge all gifts within three – five business days. Even an automated email response to an online gift is an important first step. Click HERE for tips on donor receipts and letters.

Thanking them for their support and keeping them updated on the progress of your cause will help build a strong, long-lasting relationship with them. This can lead to repeat donations, as well as potential referrals to other potential donors.

Finally, the Golden Rule of fundraising is all about considering the needs of your potential donors and communicating with them in a way that resonates with their values and interests. By following these principles, you can build strong relationships with your supporters, and increase the likelihood of them donating to your cause.


Michelle Crim, CFRE

Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.

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