There’s a “regular” kind of fundraising.
You’ve seen it before:
- Letters and emails that begin with a thank you, then tell a story of something good that the organization has already done, then a request for support that’s not particularly strong.
- The details of what the donor’s gift will help accomplish are often hidden behind abstractions like “you’ll deliver hope” or “please help their dreams come true.”
This “regular” kind of fundraising works OK when there are a lot of people are interested in your cause. Think top-ten subjects like hospitals, cancer, feeding children, higher education, you get it.
But if fewer people are interested in or affected by your cause, “regular” fundraising just doesn’t work that well.
In that situation, if you want to break through, your fundraising must be better. Sharper. Bolder. Clearer.
You’re going to have to make fundraising that leads, fundraising that’s different from the “regular way.”
Here are two pieces of advice to help you create fundraising that breaks through the noise and makes people care more about what you do.
#1 – Figure Out What It Is About Your Cause That Makes People Emotional
Notice I said your cause, not the specifics of your work. What is it about the underlying need for the work you do that makes people emotional? Talk about that when you’re asking for support.
To illustrate, I know of a Men’s Choir that figured this out. They used to do their fundraising the “regular way.” They highlighted how good their singers were, how technical their arrangements were, how impressive they sounded.
They raised a regular amount of money.
But their fundraising took off when they started talking to their donors’ emotions about the music. Turned out that many donors got emotional about preserving and sharing old songs. Other donors got emotional because the music reminded them of their parents.
Can you feel the difference between “Your gift will make the choir’s impressive sound possible” and “Your gift will preserve your musical heritage, and you’ll hear music that will take you right back to listening to it with your parents”?
#2 – Talk About the Consequences of Your Work
What’s the change your work causes that makes people emotional?
When you’re Reporting back to donors on what their gift accomplished, talk about that change. Not about your organization itself, or about what your organization does to make the change.
Your donors care more about the change than they care about how you make it.
When you Report back to donors and share stories that illustrate the change they’ve helped make, your donors will be thrilled they gave and more likely to give again.
The “regular way” doesn’t work very well for small nonprofits.
If few people care about your cause or issue, does it make sense to spend your fundraising talking about the details of your programs? (Think about it – do you want to hear the details about a subject you’re not interested in?)
Instead, find out what makes your current donors emotional about your issue or cause. Get good at talking about that, and you’ll raise more money.
And you’ll have the added benefit of being more attractive to potential donors. Why? Because many of your potential donors have those same emotions that you’ll be talking about. This enables your conversations with potential donors to start on common ground. And that’s a much more inviting place for a donor than having to hear about the details of your programs.
It’s the difference between a potential donor receiving your fundraising and thinking, “I don’t really care about that” and them thinking, “huh, that’s more powerful than I realized.”