Social Distance is a concept sociologist use. It is defined as the degree to which people are willing to accept and associate with those having different social characteristics.

For example, someone living in an urban area can better relate to other people in urban areas compared to someone from a rural area. Those living in urban areas have a shorter social distance. This will come as no surprise to many of you, but many of the girls I asked out in high school and college wanted a greater social distance with me.

Our job as fundraisers is to reduce the social distance between our donors and the person who needs help. It’s hard to relate to someone in Africa. But if you share the story of an African mother’s desperate struggles to feed and care for her children, other mothers can relate…feel sympathy.

Find ways to help your donors better relate to the individuals your organization serves. Help donors feel sympathy by reducing the social distance.