Donor Focus: Parents — It’s Not Child’s Play
Competing with many voices
Parents are likely to be pulled in a variety of fundraising directions by the many important people, institutions and activities in their lives. So how do you compete?
“Develop a connection with parents that allows them to feel like their involvement will have an impact,” Derbyshire says. “Parents like to use charitable activities as teaching opportunities. Children can learn about other countries and cultures through raising funds for Save the Children, as well as learn important values, such as giving back and participating in the global community.”
These education opportunities offer a good method for reaching out to parents. For example, Save the Children offers a “Rewrite the Future” education campaign to enable 39 million children around the world to go to school. The Epilepsy Foundation has a “Get the Word Out” contest for teens. The ASPCA has an advocacy program that encourages young people to write their legislators. Heifer International even offers domestic trips for families.
“Education is an important part of Heifer’s work,” says Christine Volkmer, public relations specialist for Heifer. “We help parents show that even the youngest children can make a difference.” Volkmer says the organization’s best outreach strategy is a synchronized effort, combining direct-mail and e-mail campaigns with media coverage.
Talking to busy parents
“Today’s parents are busier than ever,” Derbyshire says, “so the organization’s communications need to be direct, clear and straightforward — and the activities need to be easy to participate in.”
She suggests that the best way to reach parents through fundraising copy is to include:
- what program or project you are asking them to support;
- key background information on the program or project, as well as on the organization, especially if they are not familiar with it; and
- how, specifically, you want them to get involved and exactly what you want them and their children to do.
McCurry also believes in making that information clear, concise — and accessible.