Do you know what really interests your donors? 

How about this list? Do your donors care about any of these issues?

  • How efficient you are.
  • How green you are.
  • How thrifty you are.
  • How you monitor the effect of appeals and campaigns, whether TV ads or newspaper inserts, or radio appeals. 
  • What criteria you use for judging success.
  • What proportion of paid staff to volunteers your charity has.
  • What proportion of people who sign up in the street immediately cancel once they get home? Or within a few weeks or months? 
  • Why you are worthy of support.

They are all important to Redcookie, a regular contributor to, a site that allows and encourages donors to talk about what they like (and dislike) about being a donor. 

Her point is raised in light of the recession but, quite honestly, it's as relevant to charities now as at any time…

"Given that all can justifiably say that in a world where all are touched by the economic crisis, however indirectly,  the need for aid/charity work is greater than ever, what will be the USP of each? How will, say, the various charities working in Africa differentiate themselves from each other? If many seem interchangeable to me, with my long-time history of donating, then charities really need to look at what they are telling the people to whom they are making their appeal. Maybe it’s just me but pictures of starving kiddies followed by beaming kiddies with nuns in the background is just too darn fluffy. I want something more focussed, harder-edged.I want to know why my cash should go to  Charity A not Charity B."

If you know what makes your charity different, do your donors? And does it make any difference to them? Is your point of difference real or simply a semantic one?

This simple description is taken directly from a charity website. If you don't know which one, try and guess before you click the link.

Oxfam is a vibrant global movement of dedicated people fighting poverty. Together. Doing amazing work. Together. People power drives everything we do. From saving lives and developing projects that put poor people in charge of their lives and livelihoods, to campaigning for change that lasts. That’s Oxfam in action.

It's a great approach but does it give a donor any reason to give? Does it offer a difference that a donor will care about? Will it get more supporters on board?

Few donors are specialists in the field of development (or cancer research, child care, disability or any other complex issue). Most are just great people who want to help. 

And what research tells us time and time again is that donors want to know exactly how they are (or will be) making a difference and how their gifts are being (or will be) used. In short, they want charities to take their needs into account and treat them like people.

That's what Redcookie is asking for. I'm sure that the first charity that tells her what she wants to hear will get her long lasting support.