Winning the Campaign for Donors’ Hearts and Donations
Like many people, perhaps you, I watched the presidential debate last night. (And that's as political as I am going to get in this article.) Being a fundraiser, there were a few things I observed about the debate that apply to our profession, too.
It's not what you say; it's what they hear
We work hard at our nonprofits to get our message out to our donors and potential supporters. But too often our donors hear what they want to hear — and sometimes they decide to give or not to give based on their erroneous interpretation of our words.
Our challenge is to make sure that our messaging is consistent and realize we are communicating to people who aren't as well-versed on our nuances as we are. What is different about your organization than the others with similar names, similar missions or similar-looking logos?
Are you talking to your donors or to your "insiders" — staff and board members? Your challenge is to communicate a message to "undecided donors" that is believable and motivational. That's what "undecided donors" expect to hear from your nonprofit.
Sometimes donors get overwhelmed by the numbers
We're proud of what we've accomplished, and we want to share the success with our donors. We have opportunities and financial needs, and we know we need our donors' support to address them. But all the numbers can cause a donor to mentally explode.
Three things to ask yourself when presenting numbers to your donors:
- What are the numbers we want to communicate at this time?
- Which ones are essential to telling our story, and which ones should we eliminate?
- How can we present them so they are remembered?
Spreadsheets aren't stirring. Bar charts are boring. Percentages often don't stir up passion. When sharing numbers, presentation matters.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.