Not to Be Rude ... but What's in It for Me?
So make it very clear that there is a problem (even if we’re the only ones talking about it). Next, show that there also is a solution and you’re the best choice for implementing that. Our offer isn’t about comparing options. It’s about showing our potential donor the one thing that is going to fix this problem, and the best nonprofit to get the job done.
When? How much?
If a potential donor has some disposable dollars, she may not be eager to part with them today. So as fundraisers, our next job in developing our offer is to explain the sense of urgency. If you don’t get the funding to implement your solution to this problem right away, what will happen? When a donor considers several options, each one sounding quite convincing, he or she wants to make the right choice. That means investing in something that can’t be put off for a year or a month, or even a week.
What does this perfect solution cost? This is often where offers break down. We’re hesitant to commit to too much detail. Having flexibility with donated dollars is always great, but, especially if you are trying to acquire a new donor or upgrade a lower-level giver, you need to provide specifics.
Fill in the blanks: “We can do ____ for $___.” If you don’t know what goes in the blanks, you need to talk to colleagues who do and get more information.
I hate to ask, but what’s in it for me?
While most donors won’t admit it in a focus group or on a survey, personal benefit often impacts a decision to give to a nonprofit. Fundraisers often think “premium” at this point, but many donors are motivated by something much harder to describe than a T-shirt or membership card. It’s that feeling they get when they give to your cause. It may be a sense of religious fulfillment or pride that they are able to support your cause at a level they consider generous. It may be the satisfaction of knowing they are carrying on a family tradition, giving back to a community or alma mater, or doing something about a problem they believe is serious.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.