The Gift of Attention

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Have you read, “Treat your prospects like donors and treat your donors like friends”?

Not too long ago, I called a longtime friend of mine and asked him out for coffee. He replied, in a very somber tone, “I’d like to, really I would. But I’m so busy. I am so busy. I have so much going on.”

Have you noticed that this constant “busyness” is turning into a way of life? We’re working more, volunteering more, checking emails more, checking Facebook more … Even children are now engaging in and developing this anxiety. And it’s starting as early as kindergarten!

What happened to kids getting muddy, dirty, and just plain old having fun? And in the middle of it all, asking for attention?

These days, everyone is asking for attention. Not just the kids.

Think about it: Almost everyone enjoys some form of attention. As a society, we constantly seek it; it’s why social media is taking over the world. Everyone wants to be a star. Don’t agree? When was the last time you checked to see if you had more likes on your latest Facebook or Instagram post?

And because we’re all so busy, real, genuine attention — not just a “like” or a “share” — is hard to come by. This is why being able to give attention is one of the most prized talents one can possess.

So why not use human nature to your advantage?

Start by giving your family and friends more attention. That means actually putting down the phone and listening to them. Look them in the eyes. Engage in conversation. Show that you’re truly interested, and not just checking your newsfeed.

Give more attention at work. A simple compliment can go a long way — especially if you are someone’s boss.

And, of course, give attention to your donors, too. Lots of it. If you stop treating them like bank accounts and begin treating them like friends, donations will go up, naturally.

Start today. Begin with a hand-addressed, hand-written (or at least hand-signed) thank-you note. Sent via US Mail. With a physical, decorative stamp. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the detail.

And the attention.

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