In 2019, Shift from Raising Funds to Releasing Generosity (yes, there’s a big difference!)
From Randy Brewer, President/CEO, Brewer Direct
At the start of a new year, I have a challenge for you called “Releasing Generosity.”
Instead of seeing yourself as someone who raises funds for nonprofits, I want you to see yourself as someone who offers others an opportunity to release the generosity from their hearts.
Is there a difference? Absolutely!
Nonprofits face plenty of challenges… daily. But the one I’ve thought the most about in the last year is why people give to charitable causes in the first place. And yes, for some, it has to do with the tax deduction or other practical reasons. But I believe that, for the most part, people give because they’ve been moved emotionally.
As someone who’s been in our industry a long time, I know how challenging it can be to create the empathy necessary to get that emotional response. Nonprofits don’t always have the time and resources to inspire their donors with stories and photos of the people they’ve helped. Often the message becomes: “help us [the organization] help others.”
One of the trends we’re seeing is that donors want to be more involved with the causes they champion. Many of them wish they had the time to be in the trenches, volunteering or even serving full-time. But they can’t… and so they donate money. They join with you because they know you deeply care about meeting urgent, often life-threatening needs.
So when your best offer is “help us,” your donor’s face may be blank. As fundraiser Jeff Brooks puts it, “Donors give mostly because of factors in their own hearts, minds, and lives. Not because your organization is awesome, your programs are superb, your staff the best, your mission important.”
And so, that’s why I’m challenging you to stop raising funds and start releasing generosity instead. Our donors have some of the biggest, most caring hearts in the world. Now our work is to speak to the heart. Share the stories of real people being transformed by their care – and real people who still need their care. Empower their hearts to reach out and help a hurting world.
Empower them by:
- Fueling their compassion through storytelling that creates empathy, an emotional bond with someone else’s struggles.
- Inspiring their hope by showing them how their contribution actually changes lives.
- Tapping into their joy of being able to help tangibly in the face of an overwhelming need in their community.
Once empowered, imagine the outpouring of generosity from the hearts of your donors! When you speak to the heart, it bubbles up and overflows with love. That love is expansive. So give your donors an opportunity to let it flow freely.
As fundraising legend Tom Ahern stated in his newsletter:
- Giving makes you feel good
- Giving makes you feel great
- Giving makes you feel better
- Giving makes you feel wanted
- Giving makes you feel connected
- Giving makes you feel in touch
- Giving makes you feel kind
- Giving gives you purpose
- Giving is important
- Giving is important to your health
- Giving is about someone else
- Giving is about you
Throughout the year, we’ll be discussing a few specific instances of our shift toward releasing generosity in direct mail, digital and other media – and how it’s transformed our work into more than fundraising.
Share this now with your community of generosity releasers!