Why Integrating Fundraising and Awareness-Generating Media is Essential
The nonprofit world has a population problem. The number of nonprofit organizations has increased by 42 percent in the last decade alone. And with the IRS granting nonprofit status to an average of 83 new organizations every day, it’s clear this is becoming a very crowded environment.
As a result, the nonprofit sector also has an identity problem. In a marketplace that’s this crowded, how do you distinguish your organization from all the others rivaling for donors’ attention and funds? How can your organization stand out in such a large and continually growing crowd and still get noticed? How can you make your mission resonate with donors, so that when your appeal arrives in the mail or they enter your Web site, they’ll respond with a gift? And then how do you convince donors to keep giving to your organization?
It’s about relationships
The answer to these questions, in a word, is connection. People don’t give money to strangers or causes they know nothing about. Communicating with potential donors is more about relationship building than it is about persuasion. And, like all relationships, there are phases: the introductory phase, the exploratory phase, and the commitment phase. Organizations that believe they can conduct all three phases — introduce themselves, convey their mission and purpose, and then ask for money — all in the same direct-mail appeal usually are met with resistance. This is why donor-acquisition appeals usually generate low-performing results and why mailing such large quantities is necessary. So, what do you do?
Nonprofits and for-profits think alike
Nonprofits have to reach the same audiences as commercial businesses, while using the same highly saturated mediums. Both need to gain mind- and market-share. And both need to generate revenue in order to thrive. The reality is that nonprofits usually have only a fraction of the budgets and resources available to most businesses, but they need to accomplish all of these same objectives. And therein lies the challenge. So let’s start addressing it.