Broken Things

Fixed.  I think.  My blog site, that is. For reasons I won’t go into, a few weeks ago, subscribers who tried to click through on the email bringing a new blog to them, clicked through to a GoDaddy page announcing the Too Busy To Fundraise domain was for sale.  Oh no!  That’s been mine for over seven years, and I really didn’t want to give it up.

But “mine” is not the whole story.  When the blog started, there were two of us, and she was the tech savvy one.  I didn’t even know what a blog was at the time, let alone how you set it up.

She took care of it all.  And then moved on.

What I’ve discovered through websites, blogsites, and other technological stuff is that those of us who really don’t want to know the back end, suffer.  When things go wrong we often can’t fix them.

Or maybe I should just talk about me.

So, me…I contacted GoDaddy and rebought the domain name, discovering that the problem was that emails were going to her and not me.  She—not having used the site for years—simply cancelled when she learned that if she wanted to keep the domain name, it was time to pay up.

That part wasn’t too difficult—it was the figuring out of who was hosting the site.  I thought it was the same place that was hosting my website….well, I won’t bore you with all the details except to say that each time I thought I resolved the problem, I discovered there were more.  And often the more involved information I did not have.

On the plus side, the customer service people I dealt with at 1 + 1, Wordpress, and especially GoDaddy were all fantastic—people you really want to have working for and with you.  Which brings me back, as always to fundraising.

Fundraising is often compared to sales.  I compare it to sales.  And there are a lot of similarities.  But in reality, fundraising is more closely aligned to customer service.

Good customer service knows that all the company does is meaningless unless the people they serve are happy.  All the people they serve—from staff to partners to the end users of their products.  If any one of these constituent groups is unhappy, the chain of good service is broken.

In the nonprofit world, the partners are our donors.  If they are not happy, most nonprofits will not have the financial ability to keep on.

Making your constituents happy starts with understanding their needs.  When I spoke with GoDaddy and explained my dilemma and my ignorance, they didn’t laugh, weren’t frustrated, but rather, worked with me to help me get done what I needed to do.  Which meant he didn’t assume he knew what I wanted, he asked, and listened, and then asked a few more questions.  During it all, he didn’t make me feel stupid.  In fact, the person on the other end of the phone kept assuring me that I was doing fine—was he giving me the information I needed?

Good fundraisers know this.  They treat donors as people—with hopes and dreams and things they want to accomplish.  And they do everything they can to help the donor accomplish those dreams.

The first step, of course, is finding out what those dreams are.  If you don’t know what the donor wants; if you are only focused on your own needs, you will always be stuck with broken things, and fixing them will get harder and harder and harder.

Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping them to increase fundraising capacity.  Learn how she can help you and your organization at or contact Janet at