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    Claire Axelrad
    Keymaster

    There’s a lot going on in the world right now. You’re going to need to cut through all the clutter to persuade folks that your cause is one that should take precedence. For some of you, your mission is smack dab in the middle of the news and you know what to do.  For others, tying your appeal to something that really pushes people’s buttons is a bit more challenging.

    Don’t give up.  There’s always a way, if you think a bit creatively.

    Begin by putting yourself in your donor’s shoes.  Think how they’re thinking.

    The San Francisco Playhouse is doing a remarkable job by positioning their theater company as an “empathy gym” — a place where people come  I share this as one example, because your mission exists within a context, not a vacuum.

    Our theatre is an empathy gym where we come to practice our powers of compassion. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Ghandi: These are the Olympic athletes of empathy. But the rest of us need to go to the gym. It’s tough to be compassionate in everyday life. We get cut off in traffic, get our purse snatched, get knocked down, our house broken into, our country invaded. It’s tough to be empathetic. But from the darkness and anonymity of our seats, we are safe to risk entering into the lives of the characters on the other side of the proscenium. We feel what they feel, fear what they fear, love what they love, and hope for what they hope for. And along the way, with our one hundred hearts beating together in the dark, we realize that under the skin we are the same. And as we leave, we take that miraculous spirit of unity out into the world to make it better.

    Please share what you’re doing this year to make your fundraising offer compelling.  We can learn from each other.

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