Empathy vs. Perspective

Empathy helps you understand what a prospective donor is feeling. 

Perspective helps you understand why they are feeling it.

Empathy keeps relationships on track.

Empathy helps you remember that your supporter lives on the west coast while you are on Eastern time. Thanks to your empathy you’ll avoid calling her when you first get to the office at 8 am (5 am for her). In that case empathy is a very good thing to have.

Perspective is more intellectual.

Perspective-taking is exclusively the process of taking an alternate point-of-view. With perspective you can understand your supporters’ viewpoints, needs, desires, goals and aspirations. If the need is urgent and you know that the supporter has been waiting for an opportunity to fund (for example) an airlift to rescue dozens of refugees in a far off land, then you will call and awaken her at 5 am. Your perspective assures you that the donor will be happy you did.

However, the perspective-taking process does not necessarily lead to feelings of empathy.

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