The Tao Of WowIn a recent 501 Mission Place post, Estrella Rosenberg talked about creating “Wow” moments with donors.

Referring to how Zappos does marketing, she asked: “How can you personalize the way you thank your donors so that they hang onto it for months?”

She shared a simple way of doing this via hand-written “thank you” cards to donors – just to say thanks.

No ask, no link, no call-to-action. Just thanks.



You: “But I barely have enough time to keep my donor database current. How can I possibly send out hand-written note cards to each person, without needing shock therapy?”

Confucius: “By sending cards that matter to a few.”

Using your superpowers

Knowing who to send the cards to requires only your wisdom. Wisdom that’s derived from compassion you naturally have because you care deeply about your supporters, and you care deeply about your cause.

Think about how you felt the last time a brand actually cared about you. It felt so refreshingly human, you had to tell others!

Launch a caring campaign

Stop thinking “programs” and “campaigns” on this one.

Instead, start growing a culture of spontaneous caring within your organization. Spend a few minutes each day learning what’s important to your donors. What struggles (and victories) are they going through in their personal lives?

Then, using wisdom, do something tangible to show you care.

How do you “wow” your donors?

Learn how one nonprofit increased their online fundraising by 1,400%!


Learn the tools, tactics, messaging, and website tweaks that created thier explosive result!


  1. John – Confucius was not Taoist, he was the more intellectual (read academic) one! He was the one who would have said no, no, the handwritten isn’t elegant enough … imho

  2. Must be something in the water. Pamela Grow posted the exact same question about “wowing” donors, and also referred to Zappos, a few days earlier on I think twitter or Facebook. Zappos is really getting their message out there!

  3. Another great post John. Speaking of ‘wow’ moments, the national director of an organisation we work with will actually visit supporters when he’s in their locality to thank them for their support. The fundraising team will pull a list of supporters in the area the national director is traveling to. Imagine how valued you would feel as a supporter if the director of the organisation calls to thank you personally! From:

  4. re: Confucius – I would say that Confucianism is definitely a sub-branch of Taoism. For example, buddhist paths require devotional surrender and taoist paths require practice. Confucianism is just like the “tao” of human society.