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Thought Out As You Think You Are?

We think we’re rational, logical adults who make rational, logical decisions.

And, for the most part, we are. But fueling so many of our ostensibly logical decisions are these powerful, messy, often undetectable forces called… feelings.

When’s the last time you spent a lot of money on something? Was it a new suit? A laptop? A trip away with your spouse?

Why did you make that big purchase? I’m sure you’ve got several good reasons to share. But if you really think about it, a lot of those reasons crystallized after you made the internal decision to swipe your card.

What really clinched the deal for you?

How the idea of the purchase made you feel.

We humans don’t just buy rationally. We buy based on emotions.

And that’s also true when it comes to giving.

Your donors might give all sorts of logical reasons for why they give more here and less there. But ultimately, it all comes down to their feelings.

“Good to know, Avraham. But… what do the feelings behind their decisions have to do with me?”

Well, you have quite a lot of power to influence how donors feel about you and your organization, don’t you?

When you interact with donors, how do you make them feel? What emotions do you inspire in them?

Do you fill the room with positivity? Do you ignite them with the fire of an ambitious vision? Do you offer them new hope about a problem they care about? Touch with them your own energy or enthusiasm or passion? Do you give them the sense that joining you would make them part of something greater?

When you speak to donors, you aren’t just talking to their brain, their seichel. You’re speaking just as much, if not more so, to their feelings.

So. Next time you communicate with a donor - in person, by phone, by email, by thank-you card - take a minute to answer these two questions:

How do I want my donor to feel after interacting with me?




What can I do to make them feel that way?




Here’s a little example:

After this phone call, I want my donor to feel…

  1. Warmed by the genuine interest and respect I show him
  2. A stronger desire to fix the issues my organization deals with
  3. Excited by my team’s unique and promising approach to fixing those issues

What can I do to make them feel that way?

  1. Make that initial smalltalk count; ask about things I know are happening in his life; express my admiration for some project he’s involved in
  2. Share a powerful, heart-pulling story profiling a person my team has helped
  3. Make sure to speak with passion and confidence when I describe our work and our plans

You don’t have to do a perfect job. You don’t even have to come up with perfect answers to these two questions. Simply giving them some thought and going into communications with a plan will make a real impact on your donors’ feelings… and, b’ezras Hashem, on your bottom line.

Hatzlacha raba!


© Avraham Lewis & Co.