Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Review: How to Love Your Donors (To Death)

Review: How to Love Your Donors (To Death)

Throughout, Stephen Pidgeon makes it clear that his motivation for writing this book is that now he is a member of the prime target market for many charities he experiences a high volume of fundraising efforts and is disappointed (maybe he feels more strongly…) about the manner in which he is treated as a piece of data rather than a person.

His contention is that if we fundraisers make our approaches more personal then we shall all get more supporters leaving legacies to our charities. And the statistics on the size of legacy gifts that Stephen shares leave the reader in no doubt that those legacies are definitely a worthy goal.

In his final word Stephen recommends that if you can only read one chapter then it ought to be no. 10, which focuses on legacy gifts. I agree that legacy gifts have the power to transform any charity’s income and that legacy marketing, on the whole, is not done very well in the UK. But I disagree with his advice on the absolute, most essential place to turn to in this book.

In my opinion, if you can only read one chapter (although, how time poor are you if you can’t manage a mere 114 pages of A5?!) then it should be the preceding one – chapter 9 – “Creating great fundraising”. In this chapter Stephen reminds us of a whole heap of basic golden rules in creating compelling copy; rules that work across all disciplines and specialisms of fundraising, not just the minor donors that is Stephen’s focus.

As someone who has always worked in fundraising from the few I have regularly considered that the skill of fundraising from the many must be entirely “other” to that which I know well. Indeed this book has reinforced to me that many aspects are entirely different but it has been comforting knowing that we all come from the same fundamental base: advocating passionately for our cause through persuasive and illustrative language. This collective base can get lost in the structures of teams.

As a fundraiser you need to know the golden rules of your case for support. If you can’t name them right now then you ought to remind yourself; if you think you know them then you ought to test your own knowledge. Make sure you are the best fundraiser you can be. Reading this book has made me consider how I structure the work I do. I have learnt some tips on structuring the conversations I have regularly about persuading donors to change the world.

This book does have a minor donor focus, of course, yet is just as useful to any major donor fundraiser too.

How to Love Your Donors (To Death) by Stephen Pidgeon is published by The Directory of Social Change.


About Beth Upton

Beth Upton is a successful high value (major donor) fundraiser with a broad range of experience in capital and revenue fundraising for large and small organisations in health, social action, education, the arts and international development. She has raised multi-millions for the causes for which she has worked. She founded Money Tree Fundraising in 2010.

Beth is the Chair of the Institute of Fundraising London Region, the largest regional group with over 4,500 members and she sits on the Standards Committee of the Institute of Fundraising. Beth is a volunteer adviser to CoppaFeel! and is a volunteer mentor for a number of small organisations through Small Charities Coalition.

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