Write (and Tell) Your Story
Summit Marketing is based in Kansas City, Mo. This company provided symposium participants with ideas for innovation, thoughts for solutions and best ways to target prospects. While I could not enjoy Savannah to a great degree due to time constraints, I did leave the symposium inspired and full of new ideas to approach future prospects. I now have a greater appreciation for the fact that you must tell your story through many outlets including radio, television, print media, direct mail, social media and face-to-face interaction. It was noted that stories must be dynamic and not static in nature.
The moral of the story is simple. When you approach a prospect with impersonal facts only, you will fail to connect. That approach is like watching a black-and-white television set in the 1950s. If you paint a vivid and colorful emotional message using stories that people can relate to with similar life experiences, feelings will fly. People will watch the story unfold in "HD" color. They will better understand why you need funds and the tremendous impact their donations can make to help others.
Over time, prospects will get the message you want to convey in powerful ways even you cannot imagine. I thank Summit Marketing for recharging my intellectual battery. I now have a better understanding of the fact it is not what you say but how you say it. That approach makes all the difference between ultimate funding success and failure. You definitely make a greater impact if you can do research on prospects and understand their needs and wants. It is not about you — it is all about them.
Nonprofit competition is keen. You must create a story that is unique and separates your organization from others in the community. You should always try to understand why donors give to your organization and what makes your organization special. If you don't know, start calling them on the phone and ask them. You will be surprised at what you learn.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.