The Benefits Of Connecting Your Donors & Beneficiaries
Two of the most important groups to any nonprofit are their beneficiaries and donors. Your beneficiaries, or clients, are the reason you do the work in the first place; your donors partner with you to help make the work possible. But often these groups are completely isolated from each other.
Sometimes your work necessitates this. If you work with small children, in complex legal issues, or in any situation where discretion is necessary, you must keep privacy as your priority. But when possible, bringing the two together is a great way to give both parties the opportunity to feel like they’re part of a larger community.
Here are some of our tips on connecting your donors and beneficiaries.
Make Your Beneficiaries Human, Not Mascots
It’s important to remember that your beneficiaries’ dignity needs to come first. You don’t want to “other” your beneficiaries or reinforce a savior complex.
Avoid exploiting someone’s story by taking their agency and humanity out of it. You don’t want to paint your organization as the all-knowing savior, just like you don’t want to present your beneficiaries as weak or helpless. Remember their humanity first and do everything in your power to prevent your beneficiaries from feeling less than your donors in any way.
Make Interactions Mutually Beneficial
Think of ways you can bring these two groups together that would help both sides. We usually think of this connection in terms of how it can help your donors understand and care more about your work. Think about how you can use this opportunity to connect your donors more directly to your work.
If your nonprofit tutors adults for the GED, you can connect one of your successful donors to lead a resume training. If your organization promotes literacy, ask your donors to host a story time. Think of activities that will help your donors better understand the people you support and give them the opportunity to build relationships with them directly. Give your donors the opportunity to benefit, not by reinforcing a donor savior complex, but by offering them the opportunity to learn.
Host Events With Both Beneficiaries And Donors
Many nonprofit events are glamorous occasions, far separate from the work you do every day. These events have their place, but an event that brings together your donors and beneficiaries has the potential to be even more powerful. What are some passions or needs both groups share? Can you design an event that would be interesting to both?
Share Notes Back And Forth
Perhaps you can’t connect these two groups in person. We know that many donors give to causes that aren’t local to them and there are times when you need to protect the anonymity of your beneficiaries.
You can still bring your donors and beneficiaries together by creating a pen pal program or even sharing occasional communication between the two. Thank you notes directly from your beneficiaries are extremely powerful and those in need of your work could also benefit from some direct encouragement.
Connecting your donors and beneficiaries, not only helps your donors understand your work more directly, it promotes belonging and inclusion. It’s a way of fundraising that dignifying for both your donors and beneficiaries.