As a fundraiser, you ask for money all the time. But when was the last time you were a donor?

Any fundraiser worth his or her salt should have the experience of giving. Making a donation to another nonprofit gives you a chance to sit on the other side of the table and feel what it’s like to be thanked (or not) and valued (or not).

Try this: choose a couple of nonprofits and send a small gift. Then notice how you feel.

Most donors feel great when they give. I usually wish I could give more.

Now, watch for the Thank-You. What does it look like? What impression does it give you? Does it make you feel appreciated? Again, how do you feel?

Make a mental note of your experience and your feelings.

Then go back and take a look at what you’re doing to raise money. Are you doing things that will help your donor feel really good? Or are you boring them?

My theory is that the better experience you give your donors, the more they’ll care about the work you’re doing, and the more likely they’ll be to give again.

When people don’t feel appreciated or don’t think their gift matters, that’s when they go away.

Now, back to your experience. Over the next few months, notice what else you get from the nonprofit you gave to. What do they send you? What messages do you get, both the ones you read and the ones you pick up?

Are you asked to give again before you feel engaged? Or do you receive more information about how your gift is being used?

Do they talk about their organization and their needs in a way that makes you feel like an outside or do they use language that makes you feel like a partner in their work?

You can watch webinars and read books to learn about fundraising and donor relations, but I think this one exercise of being the donor will teach you way more. And chances are good you’ll become much better at taking care of your donors.