It’s Not What You’re Selling That Counts
You have to focus on the constituent first. Just like Dale Carnegie said, “You’ll have more fun and success when you stop trying to get what you want, and start helping other people get what they want.” That’s what the adjectives customer-centered and donor-centered mean.
What do your constituents want from you? Find out. Then meet them where they are and where they want to go. (But only, of course, if meeting their needs doesn’t conflict with your organization’s values, mission, and vision.) See Exhibit 7.1, about the Endowment Book of Life, for an inspiring example of understanding and meeting constituent needs—in this case, donors.
Exhibit 7.1 Meeting the Needs of Your Constituents
“I want to be remembered.” These words represent a common wish that’s shared by all of us. We wish to register our presence here in some imperishable way.
“I am a signer [of the Endowment Book of Life]. … I cannot overstate the gratification I feel every time I realize that the names of my parents and of their parents can be preserved for centuries to come, along with the names of the family my wife and I have created.
“And to know that, along with these names, something of our story will be recorded. Not just who we were, but where we came from, what we accomplished, and what we believed in and stood for.
“All this will be set down and saved for our descendants. That is very satisfying to me.” (So said Saul Tobin, quoted in Promise, the newsletter of the ...