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Hey there,

It’s a bright, shiny new year. Am I the only one who feels like the holidays never even happened? It’s astonishing how quickly we get back to real life. Speaking of which, how are you doing on your resolutions? I thought I’d give you a peek at my personal progress:

Dave's 2023 Resolutions Progress

Hey, it’s an evolving set of goals. I adapt as I go.

Regardless of your level of progress, here’s a resolution you should absolutely keep: read this newsletter all the way through. Then hit the reply button to let us know what you think.

Fundraising wisdom begins in 3-2-1.....


You scratch my back…

by Dave Kirby dave@vidarecreative.com

I have often heard that effective fundraising is more relational than transactional. And while that is true, I think it’s meaningful to pay attention to the transaction that happens when someone gives you money. 

Here’s what I mean. Every donation you have ever received is rooted in this simple transaction: 

Donors give you something you don’t have (money) in exchange for something they don’t have (fulfillment, purpose, joy, etc.)

In the retail world, it’s the same transaction. I give money to a store in exchange for a product that will give me what I need (status, quality of life, security, etc.) The Journal for Consumer Research said in a recent article, “Our possessions are a major contributor to and reflection of our identities.” People don’t buy stuff; they buy what they think the stuff will give them.

Find out what they need, and they’ll give you what you need.

The crucial thing to remember (and this is where it becomes relational) is that your job is not to get what you want. That’s the result. Your job is to show the donor how they can get what they need through giving to your organization.

Psychiatrist Mark Goulston says, "Understanding a person's hunger and responding to it is one of the most potent tools you'll ever discover for getting through to anyone you meet in business or your personal life."

This becomes even more critical in these days of increased inflation and stress on our donors. The worse things get, the more the donor needs the positive feelings they get when they give.

3 Ways to give them what they need.

So how do we increase the good feelings in our donors? Here are 3 suggestions:

  1. Go deeper. It’s a dark world. Your donors need to be encouraged. Share more of that with them. Look for ways to help your donors feel better about themselves and their world. Help them smile. Help them go deeper with God. Pray for them.
  2. Talk more. Communicate the impact of your work. Tell inspiring stories, and make the donor the hero in that story. Remind them constantly of the difference they are making. And say thank you more often.
  3. Be vulnerable. Do you have a budget shortfall? Have you lost a significant number of donors to the economy? Don’t hide that fact. Your donors (especially high-capacity donors) want to know what’s happening and how they can help.

As an exercise, list the positive feelings your donors get when they give to your organization. Then reverse engineer how you can communicate those feelings to them in your fundraising appeals. 

Your fundraising is first a transaction, then a relationship. It’s important to remember both…and in that order. 

Links will direct to sites not affiliated with Vidare Creative
Emotional Changes

Fascinating research from Harvard Business Review on the choices people make when they feel in control vs. out of control.

(Hint: too many options are not helpful)


Using an envelope teaser in your direct mail. Does it work?

Let us know what’s been effective for you.


A third of Americans have stopped going to church.

You are needed now more than ever!

Fundraising 23: check out our speakers at fundraising23.com!

It’s been a tough few years for fundraisers. The added pressures of Covid and the economy have made a hard job even harder. A Givebutter poll found that 95% of nonprofit professionals have either experienced burnout themselves or have seen it impact a key staff member in the past three years alone.

I could give you the standard stuff to avoid burnout, like exercise, mindfulness, and adding boundaries. All good advice.

But how about this tip: don’t try to do it alone. Even if you’re a small station, you don’t need to figure all of this out by yourself. How?

Join us July 19-20 in lovely Franklin, TN for Fundraising 23. It’s two days of amazing fundraising training from leading experts. It’s also a chance to network with other fundraising professionals from around the industry. You can share struggles and swap ideas with your peers.

You’re not alone. You have a whole bunch of people willing to help. Just sign up for Fundraising 23 and receive the skills, motivation, and wisdom to make this your best fundraising year ever.


3 Motivations of Major Donors

By Paul Goldsmith paul@vidarecreative.com

During a period of an extended economic downturn, it’s not surprising for nonprofits to see a decrease in the total number of donors. Christian radio is no exception, and thus it’s critical to focus on retention efforts for all current donors and, even more, invest in major donor relationships. 

To better understand your station’s major donors, it’s helpful to know their motivations. And thanks to the Barna Group’s State of Generosity series: The Giving Landscape report, we know there are 3 motivations that are common to major donors.

1. High-Capacity Givers Are Aware of Their Influence

They feel a sense of responsibility for their wealth and want to steward their abundance well.

2. High-Capacity Givers Are Focused on the Big Picture & the Long Term

Nearly all high-capacity givers Barna surveyed regularly evaluate their financial planning. This is a group that wants to make wise financial goals and decisions, and they make it a point to reassess goals and adjust as needed.

Given the wealth they are stewarding, many in this group are less focused on daily provision and more focused on future preparation. 

3. High-Capacity Givers See the Spiritual Dimension of Their Giving

Researchers found that “serving God with my money” is the top financial goal for this group. Ultimately, these individuals are especially driven by religious motivations such as reflecting God’s character, giving back to God, or becoming like Christ through their giving. They desire to reflect and glorify God and to bless others with their wealth.

High-capacity givers are also especially likely to see financial giving as a spiritual conviction and discipline. Not only do they desire to bless others financially, they see this practice as necessary in their spiritual walk. A percentage of this group says they pray through their giving decisions, and around one in five also says a pastor speaks into their giving habits.

As you reach out to thank major donors, keep these motivations in mind and be prepared to share the long-term impact of their giving. It’s less about the stations’ needs and more about the donor’s goal to serve God with their money. They are doing ministry through your station, not the other way around.

Adapted from the Barna Group’s State of Generosity series: The Giving Landscape, mapping today’s giving landscape and looking to the future of generosity. 

I hope you notice a pattern. BOTH articles in this month’s newsletter are focused on understanding what’s in the mind and heart of the donor, then customizing our fundraising appeals to their mindset. 

It’s not what YOU get from fundraising; it’s what your donor gets that matters.

Ok, that’s it. I’m off to readjust my goals for 2023...



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