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Responsive Mindsets for Growing Generosity By Noah Barnett

8 Responsive Mindsets for Growing Generosity

The world you fund-raise in has changed and so should your responsive mindsets.

Your supporters are hyper-connected and receive personalized, data-informed experiences from every brand they interact with. They expect the same kind of personal connections to the causes they care about. 

What hasn’t changed?


The desire to give, to be part of something bigger, to connect, and to care remain the same. Giving is deeply personal, an expression of a giver’s identity and values. 

When nonprofits meet supporters on a personal level and respond to their signals, they can shake off the handcuffs of traditional fundraising models that were created for a world that no longer exists. 

How do you upend the status quo and lead your team to be responsive so you can grow? 
It starts by adopting eight responsive mindsets. 

Mindset #1: Personal for All

Legacy systems and models of fundraising give everyone the same message at the same time. With marketing automation and a responsive mindset, you can create personalized donor journeys for all of your donors.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, start by listening to your supporters’ signals. What are they interested in? How are they involved in your organization? What matters most to them? When you have this information you can craft donor personas and create communication streams that engage them personally and relevantly. 

Mindset #2: Innovate, Experiment, and Embrace Failure

In order to get new results, you have to try new things. Responsive nonprofits are constantly innovating, experimenting, and adapting their processes. They embrace new ideas.

Of course, not every experiment will be a roaring success. Sometimes, you learn what not to do, or find gaps in your processes. Responsive nonprofits don’t fear failure–every experiment is an opportunity to learn. 

Mindset #3: Focus on Trust

The public trust in institutions, including nonprofits, is startlingly low. Responsive nonprofits know that makes building trust with their supporters more important than ever. They look for opportunities to prove they will do what they say and act in the ways their supporters expect. 

Build trust with your supporters by closing the loop. When they give, follow up to tell them how the project or program is going. Be transparent when you fall short of the mark. 

Mindset #4: Value Motivational Insights Over Behavior

Responsive nonprofits want to know why donors do what they do. They seek out the motivation behind donors’ behavior and value that motivation just as much as the behavior itself. 

Start to collect motivational insights by using surveys or interviews to get to your supporters’ why. Look for patterns – do many donors give for the same reasons? Look for ways to connect them in community. 

Mindset #5: Breakdown Silos (People and Data)

Silos between programs, fundraising, and communications departments don’t serve anyone well. The more crossover between teams, the more responsive your organization can be.

The first step to breaking down silos is making sure that everyone has access to the same information. If you’re using multiple systems or approaches across your organization, it’s worth taking steps to get everyone on the same page. Instead of spending time on redundancies and passing information back and forth, you can work together easily. 

Mindset #6: Be Abundantly Thankful

Prioritize your relationship with your supporters over their money. Give back to your donors with gratitude. Share your appreciation for every gift, no matter the dollar amount. Make sure you close the loop with every donor, every time, expressing gratitude and showing their impact. 

Mindset #7: Design Plans to Adapt; Stay Curious

Responsive nonprofits respond to new information. They keep changing, innovating, and adjusting. 

Build your plans with room for adjustment. Plan for how you’ll ask questions, adapt, and learn. Consider trying new ideas in shorter cycles and evaluating as you go. A more agile approach to planning will give you more opportunities to learn new things and course-correct.

Mindset #8: View Generosity Beyond a Transaction

Generosity is not a sales transaction, it’s a deeply meaningful experience that takes many forms. Responsive nonprofits shift their mindset to a more holistic view of generosity that is about more than dollar amounts. 

Your supporters give in many ways–time, talent, influence, advocacy, and donations. When you honor the full picture of their giving, you move beyond transactions to transformations.


Noah Barnett is the Chief Marketing Officer at Virtuous. He will lead a workshop entitled “Creating Deeper Connection Through Multi-Channel” at The Outcomes Conference 2022, April 26-28 in Louisville, Ky.  If you at the conference, be sure to visit the Virtuous Booth, too!

We’re at the Outcomes Conference 2022 – We hope YOU are too!


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Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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