Effective and Consistent Messaging Is Vital to Fundraising Success
We don't really know how to articulate who we are and what we do.
We hear this often when working with a client to develop a case for support, annual fund or overall development plan.
Staff members or volunteers — and often both — are crying out for direction. It is not that they are unwilling to share about the organization and their involvement; they just don't know what to say.
And sometimes, they don't know what to share but are quite comfortable sharing what they feel the message is. Other times, they know the message but just don't know how to get it in a conversation.
Have clear messaging points for your overall organization and points that are tailored for each of your key constituencies. Make it simple — who you are, the most frequently asked questions about your organization and clear fundraising messaging that reflects the impact a donor can have. In addition, have all of your team involved in cultivation and fundraising able to share at least one compelling story illustrating the impact you have on someone.
Defining these can take time, but it is an essential process. This can be accomplished with in-house communications or fundraising staff, or with the counsel of a public relations firm or fundraising counsel.
Background for the messaging exercise should include focus groups and surveys with staff, volunteers, donors and even non-donors. See how they would describe you and why they are involved or not involved.
Once you have your messaging crafted, you can share it with your team. Share it and have a coaching session. At staff meetings and board meetings, have regular opportunities for staff and board members to share how they have been successful in sharing your key messages — and give them an opportunity also to share how they have not so that others can learn.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.