Are You Believed?
The organization has a reasonably good renewal rate (70 percent). It's been acquiring new donors gradually over time. It's average gift has remained steady or gradually increasing.
There is, however, a considerable number of the organization’s investors who are giving below, way below, their capacity.
Principle 2 of The Eight Principles™ is "Begin at the Beginning™." The starting point for a sustainable fundraising program that grows over time is communicating with your investors and would-be supporters in a way so they will believe in you.
Belief requires an emotional commitment.
I told Bill when the organization reaches out to supporters it needs to do so using words, metaphors and stories that resonate with these supporters, not simply “make the case” for helping at-risk youth.
I’m currently coaching an organization for which this is exactly the issue. The supporting constituency gives for a variety of reasons—none of them the “obvious” one.
The question is, “Obvious to whom?”
I told Bill that if he and the other leaders of the organization want to break through their glass ceiling, they’ll need to find out what the emotional issues are—for their supporters, not for them—then very carefully construct a communication program that addresses these.
Use the language of your donors, I told Bill. Not the professional-speak or “approved” terminology. It’s probably going to be several messages directed very specifically—not a “one size fits all.”
When our conversation ended, he was still mulling what I had said. I invited him to circle back in a few months and let me know what the organization was doing.
Those who share their resources with your organization want to believe in you, not simply “support” you.
Give them a reason—the reason they are looking for. The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® are about creating a philanthropic revenue stream that sustains itself but also grows, over time.
The goal is sustainable and scalable.
Let me hear from you. Please share your situation and the challenges you face in developing sustainable revenue streams. Email me, and I’ll arrange a brief consult providing you with practical guidance. I’ll choose some of these thorny obstacles to share, along with my insights, in upcoming columns.
Success is waiting. Go out and achieve it.
Larry believes in the power of relationships and the power of philanthropy to create a better place and transform lives.
Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles. His mission is to give nonprofits and philanthropists alike the opportunity to achieve their shared visions. With more than 25 years of experience in charitable fundraising and philanthropy, Larry knows that financial sustainability and scalability is possible for any nonprofit organization or charitable cause and is dependent on neither size nor resources but instead with the commitment to create a shared vision.
Larry is the author of the award-wining book, "The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising." He is the Association of Fundraising Professionals' 2010 Outstanding Development Executive and has ranked in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the United States by the Wall Street Business Network.
Larry is the creator of the revolutionary online fundraising training platform, The Oracle League.
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