ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Your Nonprofit Needs an Imaginary Friend

Updated on September 27, 2012

I was always a little jealous of the kids that had imaginary friends. I never had one. Maybe it was because I was well loved and adjusted or maybe it was just that even imaginary friends thought I was a loser. Either way, imaginary friends were cool! They always played whatever you wanted to play, they were always there when you needed them, and they listened like crazy to whatever you had to say.

What This Has To Do With Fundraising

A few days ago, I told you how to fix your online fundraising by building online relationships through social media. But that's only part of the picture. You need relationships with the right people. Otherwise you're wasting valuable time. You can't find the rightpeople without knowing what they look like. You need an imaginary friend.

Find Your Imaginary Donor

The first step to building relationships with the right people is to find your imaginary donor. Plato fans might call him or her the ideal donor. Maybe you already have an ideal donor. Maybe you've got someone who tells everyone they know about the cause, donates 50% of their income every month, and volunteers 20 hours a week to write thank you notes to your other donors. If you don't have one, get an imaginary one. What would that person look like inside and out. Are they male or female? What are their greatest hopes and fears? Where do they live? How old? And so on and so forth. Flesh that person out as much as you possibly can. Give them a name if you want. Write a story about them to help you develop their character. Anything to solidify their image in your mind. Just like people you know in real life, you'll never know everything about your ideal donor. You have to keep developing your imaginary relationship. The more you know about them, the better.

Write Everything Directly To Your Ideal Donor.

Once you've created your ideal donor, write everything you publish online like it was to them. Imagine that you're sitting on a park bench with them chatting about what's going on in the organization. Do this every time you sit down to write. Try to think of facial features, expressions, body language...anything that helps you visualize the exchange. Your imaginary donor isn't just a donor, they're someone near and dear to you and your cause. They're the best behaved donor you can possibly dream up. They're the cornerstone of your entire organization.

Don't Ever, Ever Write For Anyone Else

It's tempting to write to other donors. Don't do it! Writing to other people besides your ideal donor is a mistake. It's a waste of time. All you're doing is trying to cultivate relationships with people who'll just dump you in one way or another in the end. The thing about writing for your one ideal donor, is that it tends to attract the people that really jive with you and your cause. It also gets the people who might not have jived at first wanting to jive. They'll want you to talk to them the way you talk to your ideal donors. Do this and you'll create a online word-of-mouth fundraising machine!

So What's the Best Way to Find and Write To Your Imaginary Donor?

Offline, this is usually done with paper newsletters, or press releases, or appeal letters. Online, the best way to publish is a one-two-three punch with an e-newsletter, a blog, and user-generated content sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you can't do a one-two-three, do a one-two with an e-newsletter and a blog, and if you can't do that, just do an e-newsletter. I recommend one service and one service only for e-newsletters. As for social networks, you'll have to decide that for yourself. Find out where your ideal donor is and go there. If it's Facebook, do Facebook. If Twitter, Twitter. Whatever you decide, I recommend starting with just one or two of these sites at first. Each one has it's own culture and set of community rules. If you want any sort of return on your investment in these types of sites, you'll need to be a master.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)