Mr and Mrs in Nonprofit Donor Lists

It’s that time of year again: annual report season.

That can also mean donor list season, full of all the headaches that come with compiling it. And if something is giving you a headache, that means we are getting questions about it here at Nonprofit Marketing Guide.

I am not a fan of using Mr. and Mrs. in donor lists, a la Mr. and Mrs. John Smith. Poor Jane gets completely lost.

I’ve written about why before:

Donor List Kiss of Death: Mr. and Mrs.  In this post from last year, I show with a real annual report how easy it is to get the gender wrong (among other things).

Is Using Mr. and Mrs. in Donors Lists Sexist? Written waaaay back in 2007. Still feel the same way today. And we are STILL talking about this in 2014? Please don’t tell me I will be writing a post like this in another seven years.

My suggestion is to drop the formality and just use people’s names in your donor lists. John and Jane Smith. Or John Smith and Jane Doe. Or John Smith and Jane Doe Smith. However they list their names on your donor form (first place to look) or on the check or credit card (second place to look) is what you should use. Put the ladies’ first if you want. I don’t care, as long as their names are there!

What do you think? How is your nonprofit handling this?

P.S. Better yet, don’t do the list at all. I’m getting ready to teach a two-part webinar series on new and improved annual reports at CharityHowTo and I’ll show you how to produce a great annual report that doesn’t include a donor list. Headache gone.

Annual Report Basics: Written Annual Reports Donors Will Actually Read on January 28

Advanced Annual Reports: Video Annual Reports and Infographics to Share Your Results with Donors on February 5



Published On: January 21, 2014|Categories: Fundraising, Nonprofit Marketing Trends|