Strengthening Relationships with Our Supporters

by Ryan Li Dahlstrom

Living in a racialized economic system that values profit over people has a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities (particularly communities of color) who have struggled with poverty for generations. And, with inequitable wealth and resource distribution at its most extreme, we need each other now more than ever. So how can we translate these realities into building stronger and more sustainable movements for liberation? How can the way we resource our movements support more interdependence, resource sharing and collaboration? How can our relationships with our supporters reflect the values and politics we prioritize in our work? In the spirit of building interdependent relationships, this issue of the Journal focuses on donor relationships and perspectives. How is it that people become donors? What are the values that guide donors’ giving practices? How can we better get to know the folks who are already supporting our work and form stronger relationships with them? How might all of this lead us toward radically transforming the way we resource our movements and build relationships with each other?

First, three donors share their perspectives on giving and provide helpful insights for navigating the donor/fundraiser relationship. Stephanie Roth follows with an article focusing on how to use donor surveys to strengthen relationships with donors. Then, Stephanie Syd Yang shares her experience with the Redistribution Fund, a collective that is developing a new model for redistributing resources and supporting their communities. We round out the issue with a training exercise created by Uma Rao about understanding donor motivations, which you can use with your board, staff, and/or members. We hope you find these perspectives, new models, and tips useful and inspiring. As always, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with story ideas or feedback on other topics you would like to see covered in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal!