“Donorcentric” always felt to me like a stand-in neologism anyway. Perfectly fine until, you know, something better came along.

Being donor centered is the right idea, of course. Absolutely: treat your donors as people with feelings and values (rather than as numbers). Interact with them. Ask their opinions. Enjoy their company. Reap the rewards.

But as a word?

To my ear, “donorcentric” clanged. All elbows. And you have to explain it. There are already three hefty books devoted to the subject:

Donor-centric Books

I like simple.

A Ph.D. Cometh

“Customer centered” came first. It’s been an obsession of sophisticated consumer marketers since the 1950s.

What, you ask, is customer-centric marketing? “

[It] emphasizes understanding and satisfying the needs, wants and resources of individual[s] rather than those of mass markets or markets segments.” (Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Volume 28, No. 1, pages 55-66. Authors: Jagdish N. Sheth, Rajendra S. Sisodia, Arun Sharma)

In other words: all hail the individual customer. And who’s “the customer” in fundraising? The beloved donor.

The more you can understand and satisfy your donors (i.e., customers), the more money you make.

It’s what data mining is all about. It’s what next-gen donor management software like Bloomerang is about: understanding and satisfying the individual donor.

In 2012, psychologist Jen Shang teamed with a direct mail copywriter to create test appeals for PBS TV in America. And this particular copywriter (I know him well) preferred to write love letters to donors and prospects.

Dr. Shang, an international expert in philanthropic behavior, deeply approved.

But sometimes his writing fell transparently short. Whenever the love that seeped from his pen dried up, Jen would wag her finger: “You’re not loverizing enough.”

I.e., rewrite.

And so an exquisite, evocative, profound, moving, and descriptive term was born.


Oooooooooooh. That’s good, Jen.

LOVERIZING: the movement

LOVERAGE more charity from the same base


Can we issue you a LICENSE to LOVERIZE?

This post originally appeared in the Ahern Donor Communications newsletter.

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donor love and loyalty

Tom Ahern
Author of four books, Tom Ahern is considered one of the world’s top authorities on donor communications.
Tom Ahern

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