Getting to Aha!
The irony here is that while so many put message massage aside to get fundraising campaigns out the door, they weaken those campaigns by featuring irrelevant messages. I urge you to take some time to craft aha! messages, as you continue to get campaigns out the door at a bit slower pace.
- Make messages a priority.
- Build time for message development into all fundraising campaigns.
- Bring your leadership and colleagues on board at the beginning, harvesting their message ideas and clarifying what it takes to craft messages that connect.
Challenge: Inconsistency triumphs
Leaving confusion and annoyance in its path.
Here's the rub: Fewer than half of nonprofits report consistent use of their messages across campaigns, platforms and target audiences. As a result, fewer prospects and donors recognize or repeat those messages and are likely to be annoyed and not pay attention the next time.
Make it easy for your prospects to recognize that communications are coming from your organization by being consistent — in language and tone — in your outreach to each audience.
- Develop a comprehensive style guide you and your colleagues can refer to. Bonus: This vastly reduces the questions you're asked and the amount of editing you have to do.
- Build your all-organization team of effective fundraisers. Start by asking for their help. Then train them in messages and delivery. Ongoing support is a must.
Three steps to aha! messages
The potential is huge, and the process is doable and tested. Here are my recommendations for your first three steps to aha! messages:
1. Ensure that your organization's strategy and goals are crystal clear. I can't tell you how many times I've been hired to develop messages for an organization but can't get to ground zero because there's no agreement on organizational direction and goals.