Do You Hear Us Now?
Do You Hear Us Now? Communications, Fundraising and Donors
March 7, 2006
By Donna M. Finley, CFRE
We've all seen the telecom ad campaign featuring a man with a cell phone against his ear stopping in various locations and asking the question, "Can you hear me now?" The purpose of the ad campaign? To differentiate the company from its competitors by showing potential customers that no matter where you are, you can receive a strong reliable signal, and complete your call.
It led me to wonder, how do nonprofit organizations differentiate themselves from their competitors and other nonprofit institutions with their "customers" -- their donors and friends? The issue is not so much the ways in which organizations are reaching out to constituents to "complete the connection," but whether or not they are reaching out in the ways constituents want them to reach out and with the messages they want to hear, because it all impacts fundraising and, ultimately, the success of any nonprofit organization.
Here are some guidelines to help you reach out to your constituents and prospects in the ways they want with messaging that will prompt them to respond with philanthropic support.
Realize that a strategic fundraising plan needs a corresponding strategic communications plan. The two should be developed in concert and implemented in an integrated fashion. There should not be two communications efforts within an organization -- one to publicize programs/services and one to support the fundraising. More importantly, though, neither plan should be created in a vacuum. Nor should they be created without the benefit of external input. Taking the time up front to be inclusive and externally focused, and to plan well and thoughtfully will reap enormous benefits over the long term -- both in the positive reputation your organization will enjoy and in increased fundraising revenue.