Let Others Speak for You
Letting someone else say your nonprofit is terrific can break through to potential donors better than any of your well-crafted appeals. We all like to make good decisions — and knowing that So-and-So thinks a donation to your organization is a smart investment can be the tipping point for some potential donors. Endorsements can “just happen,” but more often than not, they are the result of proactive effort on the part of the nonprofit.
Start small, medium or large — just start!
Sure, we would all like to have the huge name endorse our nonprofit. “If only” is fine for the first 10 minutes of an annual strategy meeting, but then it’s time to get to work. Realistically, who can you secure an endorsement from?
Think about local elected officials, community leaders or respected members of the faith or business community. Who came to your recent events? Who can identify with your mission because of a personal or family situation? Who is a friend of a board member?
Often, having a few respected endorsements paves the way for more (and bigger) ones. So begin where you can, and continue to expand. Different voices communicate better with different people, so the more endorsements you have, the more likely you are to connect with a potential supporter.
Be prepared to work for it
Getting an endorsement may be as easy as five words: “Will you endorse our organization?” But more often than not, you have to invest some effort.
Review any speeches the person has made and see if he or she mentioned your organization. What about editorials or other printed materials? In conversation with you, did he or she say something that was a great endorsement? If so, memorize it and write it down as soon as possible.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.