Pulling Out of the Nonprofit Nosedive
It’s ugly out there. And if you’re the pilot of your fundraising endeavors, you’re getting pretty sick of the turbulence. Many of us are nauseated by the sight of the goals on our development dashboards. Some nonprofits are in a fiscal nosedive. And as any financial pundit worth his market metaphors will tell you, falling is no fun, especially without a golden parachute.
In situations like this, some people panic. Others get inventive. Let’s all pledge here and now to stay in the latter category. As a wise man once said: Worrying is not thinking, and complaining is not action.
Here are five keys to pulling yourself and your message together to survive 2009. They all are variations on an important theme: Give donors what they want.
Donors want to feel good
That’s right. Donors want to feel good, especially right now. They want a helper’s high. They want to have an impact, make a difference and attain an emotional ROI. You don’t give that to them with a desperate, doom-and-gloom message about your dire need.
Even if you’re feeling negative, there’s no need to share that emotion unless there’s a happy windup to your appeal. Who can your donors save? What can they make possible? How can they be superhuman life-changers for a small sum? Tell them. It’s good stuff. It’s motivating stuff. It works. DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THIS.
Donors want familiarity
Now is a good time to change up the messenger. People are going to be in a kind of mental fetal position this year, clinging to their nearest and dearest in this scary world. So if you put your cause in the mouths of their friends and families, you’re going to get much further than you would messaging them alone. Ask your supporters to spread the word about you. The messenger will be key this year, and it’s best if it’s not you.