What ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Reminds us about Donors

Susan Mangels, Ph.D. , Senior Vice President of Consulting Services

The summer blockbuster “Crazy Rich Asians” shows us that attention to nuance can help us understand others.

Many have noted favorably that the film – a modern Cinderella story – avoids one-dimensional character depictions. The wealthy mother wants her son to marry a rich woman, but she also shows her own willingness to sacrifice for her family. The heroine, though from modest means, is a tenacious, accomplished game theory expert who wins her prince through her integrity and strategy.

The lighthearted movie underlines the complexity of people and beliefs—a key lesson as you and I work to build solid and long-lasting relationships with donors.

Some tips on donor cultivation and stewardship:

  • Find out why he really gives to your program. Don’t take for granted that you know!
  • Discover her giving sweet spot. Is it economic freedom, criminal justice reform or safeguarding the Constitution?
  • Understand why he gives. Does he want to help families, educate youth, build a legacy, give back?
  • Listen to the stories she tells. What she chooses to share with you can indicate much about the way she sees the world.
  • Learn how she wants to be thanked. Phone calls, handwritten notes, gifts, personal visits, peer recognition? Do that.

One of the most important things about working with donors is to acknowledge their nuances and complexity. When building a strong match between your organization and a donor, it’s good to look for, and reflect, on those rich and numerous features.

Susan Mangels, Ph.D. is Senior Vice President at A.C. Fitzgerald. She loves learning what inspires donors.

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