The Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, or SOFII, a terrific resource for fundraisers, recently published an analysis of a letter sent to Oxfam Ireland by one of its donors. In part, the letter read --
…[I am] unable as an individual to deliver aid to whoever needs it. That would be impossible and very wasteful. The money you received from me is real money – with that I mean, if I didn’t give the money to you, I wouldn’t have difficulty finding another use for it. What I am really trying to say is this: I trust you to spend money wisely and carefully and give aid appropriately with consideration to people’s background. I don’t expect Oxfam employees to work for nothing, they need to be properly paid.
I am proud to support Oxfam and I know that puts a responsibility on all Oxfam personnel.
Twice in his letter the donor refers explicitly to the trust he or she places in Oxfam … and indeed the entire letter underscores the trusting relationship that the donor enjoys with the charity.
However, as the letter also clearly indicates — and Damian notes in his excellent analysis — this trust has been earned. It is not unconditional. Note the last line of the letter, and the writer’s earlier comment … “I give money to Oxfam in good faith ….” Damian calls this individual a ‘dream donor’.
As The Agitator pointed out this week, “a sort of ‘compact’ has been entered here, and one that sounds very durable.” What percentage of your nonprofit’s donors might be classified ‘dream donors’? Should you survey them to find out? How else might you know? How do you nurture this kind of trust?
How about our fellow Americans – who do they trust?
Americans trust nurses, above all, and then pharmacists, medical doctors and police officers, according to a survey released in December 2010. For the 11th consecutive year, nurses topped Gallop’s list.
Grade-school teachers also ranked well, but their trustworthiness fell from 74% two years ago to 67%, based on Gallop’s telephone research.
Even though police officers remained high on the list, the profession’s reputation also slid (by 6%) in the past year.
Meanwhile, Americans consider car salespeople, members of Congress and lobbyists to be the least ethical professions on the list of those surveyed.
I have written to Gallop with a request that they consider adding nonprofit organizations to the list next year.
I am glad to find this kind of information. I will be returning often and spread the word to others I know who will find this information useful. Thank you for helping to expand our knowledge to make us more effective in our roles.
January 26, 2011 | By Mary Jane | From Sam Houston Area Council/Learning for Life Explori
I am glad you are back blogging again!
February 01, 2011 | By Max A. Cameau | From Houston
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