Donor Focus: Parents — It’s Not Child’s Play
Today’s parents are busier than ever. We know they juggle jobs and PTA meetings, dog walking, laundry, chaperoning and play dates. So, how do you get your cause onto this congested radar? Appeal to the one thing all parents have in common: kids.
“Many parents are looking for activities that will provide learning experiences for their children, an opportunity for the family to bond, and a way to give back and help the less fortunate,” says Geri Rose Derbyshire, associate vice president of individual major gifts for Save the Children. “Fundraising activities for most charities can accomplish these goals.”
Programs like Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF are ideal for giving families a fundraising activity that has a direct impact on saving children’s lives. The program, invented in 1950 for school children, allows families to work together to raise money for the international children’s aid organization.
“This was the first real child-based fundraiser,” says Kim Pucci, marketing director for U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “We see parents with younger kids getting involved, and it provides a clear, focused value. Parents tell their children they are helping to save a life. This is very empowering.”
Kristin McCurry, principal for MINDset direct, a consultancy that specializes in “family philanthropy,” says there are two factors fundraisers should consider when courting parents as potential donors: The mission must be kid-friendly (e.g., programs that focus on cute animals, helping children, conservation) and easily explainable to a child.
“You don’t need both factors, but it helps if you have one,” she says. “If you can explain your mission to a 7-year-old, this is a good guiding principal.”
To effectively reach parents as donors, McCurry recommends that the fundraising initiative have some family component, such as having the parent match the child’s gift.
“This not only models good behavior,” she says, “but you are increasing the commitment from that parent or grandparent.”