The Elephant in the Room

You probably aren’t doing a good job of recognizing your corporate donors.

But when was the last time a cheque-writer called your fundraising team and said ‘do a better job of telling the world how great I am and how much money I gave you’? That exact conversation, with that level of transparency, is rare.

So what are your corporate donors, who crave and deserve a certain kind of recognition, saying to your team when you fail to recognize and value their contributions in a beneficial way?

Probably something like:

“Well it’s just been a big year for donation requests.”

“We’ve decided to start rotating our donations.”

“We’ve had a management shakeup and I’ll add it to the pile.”

If a corporate donor was passionate enough about your cause and believed in your team enough to give you their hard-earned money, and very little has changed since your last ask — that’s probably on you.

Maybe your failure was in delivery of results. Maybe you had results, but communicated them poorly to stakeholders and supporters. Or maybe, you did such a bad job at publicly celebrating and drawing attention to a large gift from a business that it came across as entitled, lazy, or spoiled.

As a fundraiser, marketer, or C-level at a charity, you are your corporate donors’ PR wingman.

If I’m at a party, it’s not very cool for me to walk up to a pretty girl and tell her how great a guy I am. In fact, it’s a pretty ugly scene.

But if one of my friends walks over to tell her about me, all of the sudden it’s an OK thing to do.

Be that friend, be that walking, talking PR and networking machine your corporates expect you to be. Tell their story, passionately. You DO know that story, right?

Be their good press wingman, and let them play the ‘likeable modesty’ card.

Or, you could just not. But it’s affecting your bottom line. This is the elephant in the room.

And elephants never forget.


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