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As Blakely’s newest Fundraising Strategist, I was both excited and nervous for my first #BlakelyMixer. Excited because I knew I was about to learn some pretty cool things from some incredibly gifted individuals, but nervous because I had no idea what to expect.

There were so many awesome things that I absorbed throughout the day, and I feel like my retelling of my learnings won’t do justice to the speakers themselves, but I wanted to share my top takeaways from the day.

#1 – Share of Heart and Share of Wallet:

Jennifer Campbell, an insights-driven, multi-channel marketer with experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors shared with us that we are not only battling over share of wallet, but we are battling over “share of heart” as well.

This struck me and made me think about our relationship with donors in a whole new light. I had always considered that we were in a battle for donor dollars as there is only so much money to go around, but I had never considered that we were battling it out for their care and concern as well. This makes so much sense!

If you think about it, people have emotional capacity, and while the amount of emotional capacity may differ from one person to the next, there is only so much of one’s heart a person can give. Different messages resonate differently with different people depending on their life experience and what it is that they care about, so while we, as fundraisers, are battling for donor dollars, we also need to be mindful that it’s just as challenging to get a piece of the donor’s heart, as well.

#2 – Donors are Consumers:

Our very own Kimberley Blease and Rachel Hunnybun spoke about why content matters as fundraisers, and the truth of the matter is that providing donors with good content is a key part of their donor experience. They shared with the group that donors are also consumers and, as such – in the non-profit industry – we have to give them a good experience.

We need to shift our thinking and make a move from customer service to customer experience because our donors are our customers and, in order to retain them, we need to give them a meaningful experience. One way we can ensure they have that great experience is through providing valuable and relevant content that will enrich their journey as a donor with our organizations.

Donors are becoming more sophisticated and are looking for a more tangible experience. Their expectations are climbing, and we must rise to the challenge and give them what they are craving from us. The bottom line is that since donors are consumers, when they give to a cause, there’s a certain expectation to get something in return. There’s a value exchange that we must be cognizant of, and that we must fulfill.

There are a ton of other valuable takeaways from the day; things like how podcasting can be a great tool to drive donor engagement and how it can help build your brand, or how the brain lights up in 7 different areas when you tell someone a story instead of just 2 areas when you share facts and figures (storytelling drives empathy)!

There are way too many nuggets of learning than can ever be captured in a blog post, but this is why you need to make sure you’re at the next #BlakelyMixer at the end of April next year. Suffice to say, it was a highlight for me to attend and be a part of such an awesome day of sharing knowledge with one another!