March 1, 2022
What matters most to donors
by James Davenport, consultant, American Philanthropic

What does my donor want?

Successful fundraisers often find themselves asking this question. If only they would just tell us!

Well, the best way to get answers to questions about donors is to ask donors.

Happily, the Chronicle of Philanthropy recently ran piece outlining what matters to major donors. They asked donors the questions that you may not be able to and shared the responses.

Here are a few takeaways from the thoughts of these donors, which can confirm some things we already knew and further shape our understanding of these principles to better help us approach individual donors.

1. The donor is the hero

It is fundamental to remember that the role of the nonprofit is to fulfill the mission of the donor. Jennifer Risher told the Chronicle, “When fundraisers approach donors with the idea that they’re going to help the donor do what the donor wants to do, that’s what works.”

This is a good reminder about the perils of peacock fundraising. Don’t talk too much about yourself; focus on the donor and what they want to do and achieve. Rather than saying “look at what we did.” Say things like, “Look at what you did with your gift.”

You are not the only one with a mission in this relationship. The donor has their own philanthropic mission, and it is your job to find donors whose mission aligns with your organization’s mission. Then allow them to be the hero of your story.

2. Invite donors into the life of the organization

Your donors want to be a part of what you are doing. George and Carol Bauer said that donors want to get to know the organizations they are being asked to support. The best way to do this is to bring donors into the life of your organization.

Going All IN: United Way event connects hundreds for day of community service
United Way of Central Indiana will host its second Go All IN Day June 24 across the region
The Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis has promoted Andrea Kruszynski to director of communications. Kruszynski previously was communications manager.
Indiana Canine Assistant Network, Inc. has promoted Sean Diamond to vice president of programs. Diamond previously was director of training.
Aspire Indiana Health has promoted Mike Keevin to vice president of social determinants of health. Keevin previously was director of strategic initiatives. 
ProAct Indy has hired Jessica Rodriguez Hernandez as vice president of community impact. Rodriguez Hernandez previously was vice president of business development at Mojo Up Marketing. 
ProAct Indy has promoted Mya Daelynn to director of partner engagement. Mya previously was community impact concierge coordinator.
Peace Learning Center has hired Brandi Metzger as grants and communications manager. Metzger previously worked at Indy Reads Books, the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the Kheprw Institute. 
Peace Learning Center has hired Joe Gunn as director of development. Gunn is a recent graduate of the MPA program at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI.
The Tobias Leadership Center has named Chris Smithhisler as associate director. Smithhisler previously was assistant vice president for Sigma Sigma Sigma National Sorority.
Cummins Inc. has announced a $1 million grant to build Black homeowner equity in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood of Indianapolis. The grant issued to Renew Indianapolis will support programs to build generational wealth while addressing gentrification. Read more

The deadline to apply for the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation Fellowship is March 1, 2022. The two-year fellowship is designed to create a statewide network of change agents that bridge the gap between Indiana's current leaders and its future leaders. Apply

United Way of Central Indiana is donating about 2,000 books to elementary students as part of Read Across America Day. United Way has operated the ReadUP program for 14 years, pairing volunteers with third-grade students falling behind on literacy skills. 

The Conservation Law Center, working in partnership with the Nature Conservancy Indiana, have helped designate more than 3.5 million acres throughout southern Indiana as a Sentinel Landscape. Under the federal program, efforts will be made to improve landscape resilience, address habitat needs of native species, and protect rivers and watersheds. Read more

Households with an income of $66,000 or less are eligible to receive free tax help under the program Indy Free Tax Prep. The network of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites helps ease the financial burden with tax preparation and ensure individuals and families receive their full tax refund. Visit

Seeking to hire graduating college seniors? The 2022 IUPUI Nonprofit Expo, which is March 23 from 1-4 p.m. at 420 University Boulevard, gives public and nonprofit employers an opportunity to recruit employees, interns, and volunteers. Cost: $150. Register

Job board conversion update. Charitable Advisors is currently working on converting our job board to a new software platform. The timing of the roll out, which had been initially scheduled for March, has been temporarily delayed. For now, please continue to place your job ads through our current system or by email [email protected]
The Inclusivity & Equity for Diverse Board cohort is accepting applications. The year-long cohort, which aims to foster inclusion and equity on nonprofit boards, will accept 25 board candidates along with 10 nonprofits. The initiative is presented by Nexus Impact Center in partnership with the National Center for Racial Equity and Inclusion at Martin University. Application deadline is March 11. Learn more

Frame the problem webinar on March 17 from 9-11 a.m. Before using data to make informed decisions, it’s important identify what you are trying to accomplish and how data can help you. Presented by SAVI Data Literacy. Cost: Free. Register

How to earn revenue for your nonprofit webinar on March 24 from 2-3:15 p.m. Learn the latest in fundraising from groups that are using innovative ways to generate revenue while advancing their causes. Presented by Chronicle of Philanthropy. Cost: $69. Register

IU McKinney Law is offering a virtual Juris Doctor information session on March 24 at 7 p.m. for those interested in applying to start law school in the fall of 2021. The one-hour session outlines the steps in the application process. Register

How to build an individual giving program prerecorded webinar. Understand the current fundraising environment and how to overcome your fears so you can confidently ask for the support your nonprofit needs. Hosted by The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. Watch
Inflationary and labor shortages have made it difficult for many nonprofits to meet heightened demand for services. Some are curtailing services or opting against program expansions.
Candidates for senior roles in an organization should be able to clearly articulate their vision, name three leaders they've coached or mentored, and describe how they'll lead in a changing environment. 
Charitable Allies Nonprofit compliance checklist
Our sponsor marketplace serves to further connect our readers with our advertisers who are focused on serving nonprofits. To learn about each sponsor's nonprofit services, click on its logo.

Downtown suites for lease with onsite parking
The Sol Center, located at 708 E. Michigan St. near the Bottleworks District in downtown Indianapolis, has affordable rental suites and collaborative spaces for nonprofit organizations. Leases include the use of a full kitchen, café style seating, meeting spaces, onsite parking and WiFi access. Contact Christian Page [email protected]
Are you passionate about empowering people impacted by domestic and sexual violence? Do you want to build safer, more nurturing communities for all? Are you a compassionate and service-minded leader? At Safe Passage, our dedicated staff provide safety and advocacy to people and families through emergency housing along with trauma-informed services focusing on healing and self-sufficiency. Safe Passage has helped over 16,000 individuals since its founding 25 years ago. Due to the mid-2022 retirement of our long-term staff leader and co-founder, Safe Passage is seeking an inspiring, mission-minded Executive Director who will lead a team of capable, committed professionals with passion and resolve to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Safe Passage is a well-known, financially stable, and highly regarded community resource.
To view all jobs, visit the Not-for-profit News jobs' board.

Director of Fraternal Services - Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, Inc.

Chief Culture Officer - Aspire Indiana Health

Executive Director - Alpha Kappa Psi Foundation


Fundraising Project Associate - United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI)

Community Fundraising Events Coordinator – Riley Children's Foundation

Walk Manager, Greater Indiana Chapter - Alzheimer’s Association

Director of Advancement Operations - Saint Mary's College

Individual Giving Officer - Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Director of Development - Carmel Symphony Orchestra


Administrative Associate - Kiwanis International

Volunteer Coordinator - Eiteljorg MuseumGeneral Job Template

Director of Asset Management - Merchants Affordable Housing

Deputy Director - Hawthorne Community Center

Administrative Assistant – Foster Success

Trent Garrett Fellow - Renew Indianapolis

Director of Membership - National Association of Charitable Gift Planners

Director of Programs & Evaluations - LifeSmart Youth, Inc.

Volunteer Coordinator - Midwest Food Bank NFP


Communications Director - Light of the World Christian Church

Communications Specialist - The Wesleyan Church

Communications Manager, FFA Foundation - National FFA Organization

Communications Strategy Officer - Lumina Foundation

Project 17 Impact Manager - Special Olympics Indiana

Manager of Marketing & Communications - Special Olympics Indiana


Business Manager/CFO - Hamilton East Public Library

Nonprofit Controller - VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm

Vice President of Finance - Hamilton County Tourism

Purchasing Manager - Greater Indy Habitat


Senior Manager of K-12 Initiatives - United Way of Central Indiana

Program Manager, Greater Indiana Chapter - Alzheimer’s Association

Senior Program Officer – SDOH - Crooked Creek Northwest Community Development Corporation

Outreach Manager (Southeast Region) - Indiana Youth Institute

Outreach Manager (Northeast Region) - Indiana Youth Institute

Program Specialist, Immigrant Outreach - Indianapolis Public Library

Program Specialist, Adult Programs - Indianapolis Public Library

Early Childhood Education (ECE) Associate - United Way of Central Indiana (UWCI)

Youth Career Specialist – JAG - Telamon Corporation

Homeownership Education & Resource Coordinator - Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity


Facilities Manager - Light of the World Christian Church


Director of the Choir School - Christ Church Cathedral

Middle School Teacher-Mentor - Elevate Indianapolis

High School Teacher-Mentor - Elevate Indianapolis


Construction Superintendent - Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity