Have you ever had a child, a pet, or a friend in pain? Some searing pain, a throbbing joint, or a broken heart.

image of woman in pain
Photo: Unsplash/ Kat J

The first thing you want to do is make it stop. You want to be the one who “makes it all better.” You offer something that will act fast: aspirin, ice, a hug, whatever you think may work. You may even wish to carry the pain yourself instead!

Donors are no different. They WANT to be pain relievers for the hurt they see in the world.

They watch the skyrocketing unemployment figures. They see businesses closed. Donors know that schools are shuttered and now online – for some children but not all children.

Donors digest the charts and facts, but what they visualize is the pain of a parent unable to offer daily meals. The desperation of a business owner uncertain if there is a viable future. The disappointment of a child who can’t access online learning or play with friends. Donors see the pain – and may even relive a past ache – and it touches them deeply.

So a donor reaches for something to “do the trick” and ease the pain they see: a pen to write the check, a touch to activate the credit card, a click to submit a payment. And suddenly the donor feels right beside the parent, a child, that business owner, a doctor, the grocery worker, the grieving widow, that sick child. Right there, to soothe the pain.

As fundraisers, our job isn’t to to ask donors to give us money to buy aspirin. A fundraiser’s job is to invite donors to be pain relievers and thank them for their swiftness and generosity. Then to show that victory – or many victories – they made happen.

And yet I see many appeals along the lines of, “Give us money and we will buy the pain relievers. And then we’ll thank you for sending money.” The donor acts with her generous heart and we thank her for being a great wallet.

That feeling of joy when your pain finally stops? It’s matched only by being the one who caused the pain to stop. Let donors know that they are relieving the pain. And be sure to thank them for providing a comforting touch to this world.

Yes! I want joy sailing through my inbox!

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