If you’re an animal lover, you know that pets are part of the family, and these little furry love-bugs have personalities all their own.

We’re tri-petual at my house – we have dogs AND cats… and horses! It’s a regular zoo some days.

If you drop by for a visit unannounced, you’ll find that most of the furniture is covered in dog hair, there are dog toys EVERYWHERE and there’s a cat either wanting in or out. The horses are likely covered in mud and insist that they are starving because they can’t get to the next pasture and the yummy green grass just beyond their reach.

Of our 3 cats, Ginger is mine and she makes that known.

We’ve had her since she was little and she’s a great mouser. Actually, she catches anything and everything, and since we live on a farm, that’s usually ok. I’ve had to play “catch and release” with her a couple of times to save some baby bunnies, but I digress.

I’ve noticed several things about Ginger that I think apply to fundraising. See what you think about these fundraising lessons I learned from my cat.

1.  She has clear goals. When Ginger wants in my lap, she is very persistent and waits until I move my laptop or book or whatever else is there. She’s a snuggler when she wants to be, and she doesn’t take “no” for an answer. She doesn’t back off, she isn’t afraid if one of the dogs is close by, and she does not give up. 

2.   She shows up. When Ginger hears someone in the kitchen, she comes around to see if she can get some fresh kibbles, a treat, or a catnip toy. She LOVES catnip and knows exactly which cabinet we keep it in! She’s pretty clear that we won’t bring the treats to her – if she wants one, she has to come ask for it.

3.  She builds relationship. Ginger loves being part of the family and typically hangs out wherever we are. She loves to go outside to “help” when we’re working on the fence or clearing brush. When I let her inside, she always gives me a quick bump on the leg as she walks by.

4.   She expresses appreciation. Ginger is a drooler when she’s happy. Yep, when she’s content, she drools. Weird, but true. She also likes to have her nose rubbed, and she’ll head-bump you to let you know how much she likes it.

Like any pet, Ginger has her moments when she’s a giant pest. She’s a moocher at the dinner table and has the patience of a saint to wait for a handout. My husband is a sucker and usually sneaks her a bite of something, which then causes the dogs to beg, too. I told you – it’s a zoo.

Mooching is a danger for many nonprofit fundraising folks too. If you always show up with your hand out, you’ll wear people out. No one likes a chronic begger.

If you’re so focused on the money that you forget to think about how your donor feels, that’s a sure sign that you probably are annoying them. Pay attention to how often you ask for something versus the number of times you share something that makes them feel good about supporting you. Share the good stuff 3 times as often as you ask.

This 3-to-1 ratio will help you stay in good graces with your donors and not wind up in the dog house because you’ve irritated them.

So, those are the fundraising lessons I learned from my cat. What’s your favorite?