Donor-centered fundraising is not about money.
Huh? If that first sentence has you scratching your head, it’s time to take a moment.
I know. You’re thinking this is just semantics. You’re thinking that, of course, fundraising is about money. You’re thinking we can pretend it’s about something else but, seriously, we need money to fulfill our missions. I know what you’re thinking.
I want you to stop thinking that way. Because it’s getting in the way of you raising more (ahem) money. So… close your eyes. Breathe. Clear your mind. Ready? Okay… now…
Visualize something great your nonprofit does.
Are you picturing it? What does it look like? How does it make you feel? Does it put a smile on your face? A lump in your throat? Are you feeling really good about your part in bringing about this outcome?
That’s what donor-centered fundraising is about!
Remember that people don’t give money to nonprofits because we ask for money.
My son asks me for money every other day. Why? He just wants it. I don’t give it to him. But when he has a vision… a passion… a dream… something really important he wants or needs to do… that’s when I pay attention. That’s when I consider an investment in his future.
If you want to secure investments to secure the future of your nonprofit, you’ve got to create a fundraising message that resonates with what your donor cares about and wants to do. In How to Create a Fundraising Message That Works, Nell Edgington describes how we must stop talking about what our organization needs and start talking about what our organization does – the impact of our work.
Stop using the phrase “we need.”
That’s about you; not about your donor. No one really cares what you need. People care about how they can make their community and world a better place. Talk to them about how your organization, with their help, will do this.
Donors don’t give to you; they give through you to create the change they want to see. This is powerful. You want to make your donors feel powerful. This will keep them connected to you as long-term supporters, investors and partners in your work.
Donors don’t give to help you attain a fundraising goal; they give to save lives.
Your job is to help donors see themselves as actors in your story. You want to make them the hero, rather then your organization. In It’s “Us” or “Them” at Karen Zapp’s Nonprofit Blog we’re reminded that the spotlight must be shined on the donor and all they can accomplish. Your nonprofit is not where you want to shine the spotlight (in other words, stop with the “we’re really great… we’ve won tons of awards… we’re the best, the oldest, the biggest, the strongest… we, we, we)!
Celebrate your donors. Help them be all that they can be .
Donor-centered fundraising is about impact.
It’s about spreading the joy of giving. Our job as fundraisers and nonprofit professionals is to help our donors see the way to greatness. Over and out.
A version of this article originally appeared on Clairification in November, 2012
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