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The one thing you most need to know about fundraising

Future Fundraising Now recently got our attention here at BDI with an article on some habits that nonprofits need to leave behind.

The one thing you most need to know about fundraising

First, a word on this from Michael “MT” Tomlinson, President of BDI:

Do We Err Because We Care?

We care deeply about our nonprofit organizations’ cause.  We’re investing our time, our talent, and often our own financial resources in pursuit of providing assistance to the marginalized and the hurting.  

It would follow that potential donors with whom we share common values would think, feel, react, and respond just as we personally would to our own appeals for support, right?

Not exactly.

“The One Thing to Know About Fundraising” by Future Fundraising Now (below) illustrates the challenge that we at BDI often experience when balancing our Rescue Mission clients’ desired messaging focus with the strategy and best practices that actually elevate direct response.  

The trouble here is – we are not the audience.

In a chaotic and cluttered communication world, we don’t yet have a potential donor’s rapt attention.  They’re not deeply familiar with the complex ecosystems of social and psychological issues at play in a Mission environment.  They don’t yet know and trust that our organizations are effective, innovative, and progressive in approach. They don’t know our guests by name and the life stories that connect us on a heart level.  

And they’ve not become bored by the profound effect of meeting precious souls’ most basic needs: food and shelter.

That is why there are effective tactics in direct response fundraising that can be frustrating to partners because they may seem too general or incomplete in representing the comprehensive scope of impact being offered – but that undeniably produce greater response.  

My encouragement is to remember the purpose of your fundraising appeals and embrace what works.

There are caveats to this rule:

  • Messaging must also be AUTHENTIC with your Mission and its DNA.
  • We never manipulate – we MOTIVATE.
  • We aspire not just to compel – but to BE COMPELLING.

 
We are offering the potential supporter a tremendous gift: a way to fulfill the calling on their heart to be generous and to help those in need.  

If that gift is received and best embraced when wrapped in green paper – regardless if your personal preference is blue – then we should wrap it in green!

You see, we are a bridge between opportunity and capacity for great impact. When we focus on that, it makes it easier to release the limitations of our preferential bias and accept the blessing of more productive fundraising.

Let’s move boldly forward with that perspective.

The one thing you most need to know about fundraising

 
Posted by Future Fundraising Now: 08 Oct 2019 08:09 AM PDT

There’s just one rule for successful fundraising?

Could be. Here’s what The Better Fundraising Blog says that rule is, at The Only Rule?

The people who are successful don’t care whether they like the fundraising or not.
They just care if it works.

This is true.

In fact, let me take it one step further with an addendum to the rule:

Successful fundraising will make many organization insiders uncomfortable – or even hopping mad.

It always does.

I wish it weren’t so, because it makes life very difficult. And it causes thousands of organizations to raise a lot less money than they should.

What is it about fundraising that we tend to dislike? Here’s a list from the Better Fundraising post:

  • Including a reply card with your receipt letter
  • Writing at a lower grade level
  • Using emotion liberally
  • Being repetitive
  • Sharing real needs with donors

 
Let me add a few more:

  • Long messages
  • Underlining in the message
  • Avoiding statistics in favor of anecdotes
  • Informal writing style
  • Direct asking

 
All these things are part of successful fundraising. And all are frequently challenged by nonprofit insiders… because they don’t like them.

Maybe the rule behind the rule is this:

You are not your donor!

To see this post on Future Fundraising Now’s website, click here.

 

 

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