Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. – Henry David Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience.
If democracy requires the whole influence of citizens – and it has never needed it more than it does today — a non profit organization requires the whole engagement of its supporters.
What does whole engagement mean? Of course there is the usual checklist of ways a donor could help an organization: giving money, introducing her friends, soliciting corporate gifts from her employer, adding the organization to her estate plans, volunteering, and so forth.
But in a donor-centric universe – have you noticed that is where we live? – whole engagement means that she is giving what she is able and willing to give at this time, when asked appropriately.
How do you know whether you are inviting the whole engagement of your donors? Here is a simple test. If, when you are talking to your donors, do you listen in order to respond, or do you listen to your donors in order to understand?
Each of your supporters is, to quote Thoreau again, a majority of one, worthy of your inquisitive attention.