Who Cares?

Posted by on May 10, 2012 | 0 comments

It’s amazing how few people seem to really care any more.

Is it because we’re all to busy to notice, or have we lost our sensitivity to anything outside of our own life, or maybe it’s a result  of too much technology- we love our flat screens more than people? Who knows?

What I do know is that caring about others is as important as breathing. When our lives reach beyond our own personal concerns, we can reach our potential; without that outreach we become stagnant.

And how can we expect people to listen if they don’t even know us, or more importantly, if we don’t know them; if we don’t care, or it appears we don’t care?

This “care factor” is critical to organizations as well, it doesn’t just apply to individuals. It’s easy to go through the basic motions of “maintaining relationships” with very little emotion or energy involved. But is it the right thing to do? I would suggest that it is not.

If we are “reaching out” through a series of calculated development efforts without any personal concern for who’s on the other end of our message, we are missing what might be an amazing opportunity for growth, for friendship, for support.

You might be wondering why it really matters, after all how anyone would know that you didn’t really care.  How could, for instance, a donor tell the difference?

We’ve all been trained (or use someone who has) to write compelling direct mail pieces that are created to touch a heart or prick the mind. Just the presence of emotion is enough to show we care, isn’t it?

The answer, again, is no, it is not enough.

We (hopefully) remember to send our thank you notes in a timely fashion after we receive a donor gift. And we try to make them personal, don’t we? This shows we care, doesn’t it? No.

No, no, no.

The only way to really CARE about your donors is by knowing them, or at the very least, understanding their reason for giving to your organization.

To know a donor, you have to listen, not just talk. When we email, we are talking, but not listening. When we send direct mail, we are talking, but not listening.

It takes personal effort, personal communication, personal interaction to gain an opportunity to listen, to discover the reasons you should care. I’m talking about phone calls, lunches, events, any chance you can create to meet with your donor one-on-one, to have a conversation, to offer a smile, to say a personal face-to-face thank you, to ask for their input, to hear about their life.

The more we listen, the more we will care, and the more we care, the more our ideas will be heard and responded to.

As Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute recently reminded me, “People don’t care what we know until they know that we care.”

I think we all need this reminder.

Who cares? We all should. Especially if we want to make a difference; if we want our ideas to be heard. If we want to make a friend, if we want to gain a partner, if we want to build an effective team.

Who cares? I do. And I hope you do too.

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