Taking care of business

By Todd Cohen

Donors give because they care, but in their frantic rush for new dollars, charities can fail to care for donors.

Existing donors, as the Philanthropy Journal reported in our recent series on stewardship, may represent the best prospects for future support.

Gaining new donors is costly, and the costs can outweigh the benefits because getting donors to keep giving is tough.

Donors want to be acknowledged, assured their gift is being used as intended, and shown its impact.

They also want to be wanted.

Yet they often face family concerns that can keep them from giving more, such as the need for steady income for a spouse or child.

And with a limit to how much cash donors can give, charities should be working with them to create planned gifts through wills, trusts and estate plans that combine cash now with deferred assets such as stock or real estate.

By listening carefully, involving donors, matching their interests with organizational priorities, and making creative use of their assets to shape gifts that address their concerns and interests, charities can help keep dollars flowing to support growing needs.

Whatever a charity’s business, its success depends on minding and tending to donors.

Todd Cohen is the Editor and Publisher of the Philanthropy Journal.

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