Trends: In Your FACE!
More commonly called “canvassing” in the United States, face-to-face fundraising engages a younger donor base than more traditional media, with the average age of new donors between 32 and 33.
In a world of aging supporter bases, the ability to bring on board the next generations of donors, and get them engaged early, can be a significant plus for nonprofit fundraisers.
Of course, face-to-face is the same as any other medium. To do it right, you have to test, review and modify — with “test” being the maxim. As with other media, face-to-face fundraising won’t work for everybody. But where it does work, it can work exceptionally well.
The direct, personal appeal remains the most powerful fundraising technique. Done well, it offers the opportunity to engage with your potential donor on a much deeper level. The technique is clearly persuasive, as it’s employed every single day with major donors.
Some missions lend themselves more obviously to this approach than others: Greenpeace has had significant success in scores of countries with its impassioned environmental demands, and Children International has recruited approximately 70,000 new child sponsors in the United States. Both organizations have used Main Street, USA, as their office and been successful in doing so. Crucially, they have been able to translate their complex goals into a set of compelling arguments as to why you should give them your money.
Consider your mission: How do you communicate your key messages? More importantly, can you communicate those messages effectively, in 30 seconds, in a snow storm in Chicago? Or under an umbrella in Seattle? Why should people offer you financial support after a two-minute conversation?
Don’t assume that a big brand is a route to success or that a small organization will struggle. It’s about the ask. What do you want people to do, and why?