It’s not uncommon for a fundraiser, a CEO or a key staff member to be extremely passionate about the mission of their organization. This is a wonderful trait to have, and certainly can influence the success of any fundraising effort.

The key question, however, is how much of that passion is transferred to and retained by your donors?

Such passion by donors will usually play out with much higher lifetime value. This passion will move donation decisions beyond being determined by logic and budget into stretch-giving, and in some situations into legacy giving. You can probably, off the top of your head, name those individuals, families, foundations and corporations our charity has that level of a relationship with. Wouldn’t it be great to have twice that number?

The level of passion can be approximated by various methods of measuring donor engagement. Here are several examples of engagement signals, which are often overlooked.

Donor Passion is a Key Portion of Donor Engagement

Pinpointing whether that passion is present within the donor’s heart and soul is so elusive. Deep feelings and emotions are hard to share with a family member or best friend, let alone a fundraiser. Properly constructed and administered surveys are usually successful in moving you closer to uncovering passion (or at least close enough to continue building the relationship with a good potential for fueling the passion further).

Knowing that your nonprofit organization is one of the few being supported year after year is good. Knowing why yours is one of the chosen ones is even better!

Passion residing in the heart and soul of a donor is so very special over the long term. It is the reason or the driving force for the engagement level to be strong and most likely ever increasing.

Each Donor Discovers Their True Passion in Their Own Way

This is where the entire subject becomes difficult for most of us. Passion is so personal that finding out what will trigger high levels of it for one donor may not be the case at all for another.

Often times we may think we see it when a particular donor gives every year perhaps even in ever increasing amounts. Keep in mind that same person may be giving more to another charity or may have designated a large portion of their estate to some organization other than yours. Obviously, their passion lies elsewhere rather than with your organization.

Every good fundraiser is well versed on multiple methods of relationship-building. As you are making those methods come to life, keep in mind that uncovering and fostering passion is what you are striving for. The difference it can make when it is present is purely magical!

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Jay Love

Jay Love

Co-Founder & Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.