The previous post showed how fundraisers can harness awareness and tension to raise more money.
There’s a key thing to note, and it’s worth taking a whole post to say it well…
You want awareness of the problem your organization exists to solve more than awareness of your organization’s work to solve the problem.
When a nonprofit’s fundraising creates awareness of the problem they are working on, recipients of the fundraising experience tension and are compelled to action.
Note: if causing your donors to experience tension doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, remember that tension is the source of almost all actions taken by humans:
- If I’m having health problems because of what I eat, I experience tension with what I eat, and I take an action to eat healthier.
- If I’m wanting a new TV, I experience tension with my current TV, and I take an action to buy a new TV.
- If I see a family who is losing their apartment because they are caring for a daughter who is in the hospital for several months, I experience tension with that situation, and I send in a gift to help them keep their apartment.
It’s all the same thing. This type of tension is your friend in fundraising.
So, when a nonprofit creates awareness of the problem that the organization works on, donors experience tension with that situation, and send in a gift to help solve the problem through the nonprofit.
But when a nonprofit creates awareness of the work the organization is already doing on the problem… where’s the tension?
Why would people feel tension? It sounds like the organization has everything taken care of. They are helping so many people! That’s so great!
In your fundraising, make sure you’re raising the right kind of awareness. If a nonprofit is always and only telling stories about people who have already been helped… you’re raising the less helpful kind of awareness, so you’re raising less money than you could be.
In our experience, the organizations that raise the most money and retain more of their donors have about a 2:1 ratio – they “raise awareness of the problem their organization is working on” about twice as often as they “raise awareness about the work their organization is doing.”