'And I Should Support You ... Why?'
Keep it personal
Great fundraising propositions always have need at the center. But it does not necessarily have to be over-the-top in dramatizing the problem. Be informed by your audience. The more personal the cause, the more positive the proposition should be.
Most people are touched by cancer. They know what a terrible thing it is and don't want or need to be reminded. Cancer Research UK has used variations of its core proposition, "A gift to CR-UK brings hope to people touched by cancer," very successfully for many years. The need is expressed as donations to help researchers find treatments — to bring hope.
Relevance to your audience can also be geographical. Many people subscribe to the belief that "charity begins at home" and are more likely to give if they feel their gifts will be used to make a difference in their towns or regions. For example, the proposition "Your gift will provide a meal for a homeless person" works much better if presented to residents of the West Midlands as "Your gift will provide a meal for a homeless person in Birmingham." The more you can tailor your proposition to your audience, the better it works.
Ruth Ruderham, head of fundraising at the Canal & River Trust — another 2012 IFC speaker — is working on a campaign that is about as local as you can get.
"We are starting many small wildlife projects throughout the canal and river network, and we wanted to engage with people as they walk through these areas. For example, in an area by the Llangollen Canal, volunteers are creating a community orchard that will benefit local people and wildlife.
"So we are displaying signs along the towpath by the canal asking people to donate three pounds by text, which will pay for planting one fruit tree. We're engaging with the right audience, people who enjoy walking by canals — and in exactly the right place, where the work is being carried out. They can do it right there on the spot."