Listening to Donors

Sections of this topic

    The web may be the most powerful broadcast tool of all time, but too many nonprofit organizations miss the even more important power of the web – a way to listen to their donors!

    Why is listening so important?

    • People like to be listened to…. So few people
      really listen these days – most just use the time others are talking to prepare
      their own next statement – and donors love to be asked their opinion. They’re
      passionate about your cause.
    • When they have a problem with your organization, giving them an ear is the
      best way to keep them as a donor – and to fix a problem that’s probably
      driving other donors away too. Which would you rather they talked to –
      you, or their friends on FaceBook (or at the supermarket)?
    • Using the words they use is the most powerful way to communicate to them
      in the future. Using their vocabulary always generates more response than
      using the language of your board or staff. Good copywriters yearn for donor

    How you can listen online easily and cheaply:

    • Share your email from donors within the organization and with your
      fundraising counsel (minus the personal information)
    • Actively solicit input in online and email surveys using open-ended questions
      like, “Why do you support us?” or “What do you think the biggest problem is
      concerning [your top issue]?” and “What do you think we (the donor and the
      organization) should do about it?”
    • Look at your web site traffic statistics (Google Analytics, WebTrends, etc.)
      and see what words and phrases people are putting into search engines that
      end up at your site. What pages are they viewing most often? If you have a
      site search, look at those results too.
    • Build a basic FaceBook fan page and invite people to comment. Thank each
      of them and share the significant comments internally.
    • Use Twitter #hashtags and Google Alerts to track what people are saying
      about your organization and about your issues.

    Need help implementing any of these ideas? Contact me.


    Rick Christ has been helping nonprofit organizations use the internet for fundraising, communications and advocacy since 2009, and has been a frequent writer on the subject. He delights in your questions and arguments. Please contact him at: or at his LinkedIn Page