Is Donating to Your Org as Painful as Paying Taxes?
Pardon me as I steal from Mail Enterprises' ever-gracious Scott Swedenburg today. As usual, his quarterly Direct Fundraising Tips e-letter brought a smile to my face, so I thought I would share some of it with you.
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Writes Scott: "It’s that time of year when those of us who don’t look good in prison garb write our check to the IRS. My question to you is, “Does anyone like writing that check?” The obvious answer is NO. We don’t like writing checks to big organizations where our money seems to be wasted or not appreciated.
You know the organizations I’m talking about … big government, big companies and even some nonprofits.
Does this describe how donors feel about your organization? If the answer is yes, that’s not good. You have to help your donors get excited about writing that check.
First, make it personal. If you wrote your check to Uncle Sam or your favorite senator instead of the IRS, you might be more excited about it. We like helping people, not organizations. Grandparents will give to a children’s hospital or an environmental group because they care about their grandchildren’s future.
Secondly, allow your donors to direct their gifts toward a specific interest within your organization. You might not mind writing a check to the IRS if your dollars could be designated to help our soldiers, clean-air programs, education or another area of interest to you.
Giving to Mississippi State University somewhat excites me, but donating to the Biological Sciences or Engineering Department is a different story. I bet none of you realized degrees in zoology and chemical engineering are great stepping stones to a career in direct fundraising.
Thirdly, keep your donors informed of the impact their gifts are making. Donors are demanding transparency and accountability. Wouldn’t you love to get a full accounting of how your tax dollars were used last year? Show your donors how their gifts were used to make a difference in someone’s life.