Do Your Donors Consider Themselves Members or Contributors?

For many organizations, membership comes with a defined set of benefits.  But if you consider last week’s challenge about keeping language inclusive (Challenge: Is Your Nonprofit Inclusive or Exclusive?), maybe you should be helping your contributors feel like members of your community – even if they are not “official” members of your organization.

Why some organizations want fewer members and more contributors
I have met with organizations that would prefer large donors consider themselves as contributors and not members reaping benefits, but this may not be the smartest line of thinking.  You want each donor – large and small – to appreciate the intricacies of the organization.  A member is on the inside of the organization – a very inclusive mentality.  And, if they appreciate the benefits, they will understand why it is so important to grow their support so that many others can also feel this way.

Social media can help
Who doesn’t want to become a friend or be linkedin to someone? Well you might be cautious about how may nonprofits or organizations you accept on Facebook as a “friend” or connect to someone on LinkedIn – I know I am – but when I agree to publically align myself with your organization you have the perfect opportunity to help me feel like I am an essential part of the organization through posts, tweets, special opportunities, etc. An easy way to help donors consider themselves on the inside.

Inclusive Language Primer
Sometimes we all need a bit of a reminder that certain ways of stating something can make people feel like they are already part of the party.  Of course, “we,” “us” “our” are obvious insertions but consider how you wrote your last direct mail piece.  Instead of: Join me in making a gift to Nonprofit X.  Consider, “We can join together to make an impact at our favorite organization – Nonprofit X.” Minor changes?  Yes.  But maybe a minor change is all you need to help someone want to strengthen their relationship with you.