Anonymous Donors

December 14, 2009 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

Why not? Fundraising and philanthropy are all about donor needs. We have read recently about some large anonymous gifts recently. Yet some think this shouldn’t be. Again, why not? It is about what the donor wants and needs. And beyond being anonymous to the public, some are asking for anonymity within the organization.

In the current climate (and I am not talking about global warming!) – there are many reasons generous donors decide to go undercover:

  • Guilt – In this economy, some donors feel guilty they have enough to give and live.
  • Lack of flash – Donor doesn’t want to appear to be flashing their cash around in the current economy
  • Don’t want a flood of solicitations – this is a reason many donors are anonymous no matter what the economy looks like
  • Don’t want pressure to give again – from within the organization
  • Scaling back giving and avoiding disappointment – By concentrating their gift(s) to a smaller number of organizations and doing so anonymously avoids disappointment from organizations they declined to support
  • Don’t want to raise expectations – some gifts might be a one-time shot

Playing who gave what to whom is a game fundraisers sometimes play in their minds or with colleagues. Bottom line, time could be better spent cultivating the donors you have, communicating effectively with your audiences and making sure your message, mission and work is known by the public. In the case of the anonymous donor, it could be someone you know, who knows you well or a complete stranger. In this case it is ours to receive and not question motive, but to respect the donor wishes (as always) and be good stewards of their money.

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