There are two reasons fundraisers ought to pay special attention to their donors. The first, and most important, is that donors are a charity’s lifeblood—without their financial input, the nonprofit cannot effectively fulfill its mission. The second reason is that donors are always watching.

Fundraisers often forget this fact. There is often a prevailing misconception that donors are simply a source of cash and not partners in fulfilling the mission. This line of thought has led many fundraisers to neglect their supporters and even misuse their gifts.

Not long ago, donors simply gave money, and trusted that it was well spent. Now, it has become easier to check up on any charity through various rating websites, thus helping to hold nonprofits to a higher (and well-justified) standard. If a charity cannot explain how it spends its money, it should not expect to retain their donors.

If a charity spends its money poorly or on things that do not produce results, it should expect a similar outcome. Donors read annual reports, so they know exactly how nonprofits use their gifts; they research and study nonprofits on social media, and they will only continue to give to responsible charities.

Donors also watch how a nonprofit shows gratitude. A copy-and-paste thank-you email is not enough, nor should it be. Fundraisers need to show their supporters they really do appreciate them not just as a source of revenue, but rather as a partner for achieving a common cause. This approach, if done properly, puts the donor at the center of the action and connects them directly to the mission of the charity.

The donor is the most important part of a nonprofit’s financial success. The actual program itself is equally important, and is in fact the reason the nonprofit exists in the first place: without the donor, the nonprofit cannot exist. For this reason, it is essential that fundraisers always treat their supporters and their supporters’ gifts responsibly, and with what we like to call a donor-centric mentality.

From this point forward, remember this key fact: the donor will see whatever a nonprofit does, good or bad, and she will act accordingly.

Original article courtesy of NonprofitPro.