Be SMART About Fundraising
These days, people are bombarded with messaging from every angle, and with their precious little free time, it's easier for donors to hit the delete button or toss their mail in the recycling. To reach donors, you have to break through the noise with relevant, attention-getting communications. And you must have a way to measure the impact as well.
In a recent Agitator blog post, Tom Belford mentions that he recently stumbled upon a comment about SMART goals, and offers his take on the SMART project management goal-setting approach for fundraisers:
S = specific, significant, simple (note: none of these terms need be mutually exclusive!)
M = measurable (’nuff said!)
A = attainable, achievable, actionable (and for those who must operate by committee … agreed!)
R = rewarding (as in, the achievement of which is likely to emotionally satisfy your donor)
T = time-bound (there must be a defined time frame in which accountability for reaching the goal can be reasonably expected)
Going hand in hand with SMART communications goals is making sure there is no disconnect in your message and your donors. In a guest post for Kivi's Nonprofit Communications Blog, Nancy Schwartz, blogger at Getting Attention and president of nonprofit marketing and communications firm Nancy Schwartz & Co., provides three steps to solve your messaging problems:
1. Ensure that your organization’s strategy and goals are crystal clear.
Without clear organizational goals, marketing goals can’t be defined. If you can’t articulate your goals clearly, your problems are bigger than weak messaging.
2. Build understanding and support of leadership and colleagues.
The three most-cited barriers to effective messaging (lack of leadership support, too busy, and concern about expense) underscore the degree of messaging crisis. Communications succeed only when it’s built on effective messaging. Refusing to invest the time and money it takes to craft those messages will undermine your entire communications agenda. It’s an investment your leadership can’t afford not to make.
3. Start with your tagline — Less is more.
It’s always harder to write something shorter than longer, and your tagline is as short as it gets. It is the absolute essence of your messaging.
Moreover, your steps in the tagline development process build the insight you’ll need to craft a potent positioning statement and key messages or talking points (the other two elements in your message platform).
So if you really want to connect and communicate with your constituents to build long-lasting, meaningful relationships, be SMART about your communications approach … and watch the dollars and donors stream in.