One of the best ways to raise more money is by telling the story of your non-profit in a way that gives your donor meaning and purpose. You may be a little uncomfortable thinking about it that way, but it’s true.
Every human being… every single one… is looking for meaning and purpose in life. Every person wants to be part of a story that is bigger than themselves. They want to get caught up in an adventure, they want to make a difference, they want to be part of a group that is doing amazing things. It is up to you, as a fundraiser, to connect the mission of your non-profit with the hopes and desires of your supporters.
Giving Your Donor Meaning: A New Way to Think about Your Donor Message
Your non-profit does great work. You are saving lives… or changing lives. It is work that is worth doing – and work that is worth thinking bigger about than you ever have before. You have an amazing story to tell. That story – and the message you are relaying to donors – should be contained in your organization’s case for support, and should permeate everything you do..
You probably don’t think about your story and mission as a way to provide your donor meaning in his or her life. Most fundraisers don’t. You might not even realize the extent to which your donors are seeking out meaning and purpose. But both of those things are true: your donors are looking for more from life, and your non-profit is a way for them to find what they are looking for, and to make a positive impact on the world.
Of course, I’m not saying that your non-profit can or should provide your donors with the sole source of purpose in their lives. Most people find meaning in several different places: faith, family, friends, work, hobbies, and other charitable activities. But your non-profit’s mission and vision can be a significant piece of that puzzle, giving your donor meaning and purpose by allowing him or her to help those that your organization serves.
So What? Why Does this Matter?
Understanding that your donors and prospects are seeking out ways to make a difference is important. Believing that your non-profit is a great way to give your donor meaning and purpose is important. But why?
The truth is that if you really understand and believe these concepts, your fundraising will change in a number of ways:
– Asking becomes easier, because you see that giving to your non-profit provides something very real that your donors want and need.
– Writing great fundraising letters becomes easier, because you will stop focusing on statistics and jargon, and instead will instead cast a vision and tell stories that give your donor meaning and purpose by allowing them to get involved with your work.
– Your team will stop seeing your donors as “funders” and start seeing them as “partners” who are just as committed to changing the world as your staff and volunteers.
This year, rethink your donor message. Look at all of the ways your donors fulfill their hopes and dreams by donating to your organization. Figure out how your non-profit provides its donors with meaning and purpose. Listen to your supporters’ stories. Cast a huge vision for them. Then invite them to join with you to make a real and lasting difference for the people that you serve.
Photo Credit: tableatny