Atul Tandon is an entrepreneur, humanitarian, author and adviser. He has worked in the consumer banking, e-commerce, humanitarian relief and development industries. In 2009, he was named one of the top fundraisers in the USA, and was a leading voice behind the worldwide ONE campaign.
For two years, Atul Tandon was the Executive Director for United Way and its International Network comprising forty-one countries. He provided guidance and leadership to United Way’s global network, including the advancement of the organization’s fund-raising objectives.
In 2011, Tandon launched a global advisory firm that works with social enterprises and non-profit organizations across the globe to help them maximize their impact and efficiency.
The philanthropic mogul shared that he “dreamt up one morning” the term ‘Donor Engagement’. He said it was a simple realization: “It’s to get people excited and engaged in my cause. As a result, funds come.”
The term donor engagement isn’t just a word; it’s a state of mind. Donor engagement is understanding that, as a non-profit organization, your primary goal isn’t to raise money. Your primary goal is to get people excited about your organization, have them become equally passionate about the relevant issues, and wanting to get involved and help.
Once a charity/NGO/non-profit can mold the viewpoint of donors/potential donors, then the funds are much easier to raise. If you have a donor base that is engaged, informed, and enthusiastic, then you have done your job. At that point the funds will raise themselves.
Tandon says “There’s no recipe, but I do believe that to be successful at engaging donors frankly what is needed is a transformative change within the non-profit industry of how does the non-profit industry look at itself. Forget about trying to look at the donors – they are who they are.”
As we move forward into 2015, the public sector needs to take a look inward and see how it operates. Every non-profit needs to assess how they see the work they do and how excited they get about this work. Then, the challenge is channeling that energy on to the current and future donor base. Plain and simple, fundraisers today need to be experts in engaging and rousing a constituency of potential and current donors.