That Fancy Brochure Isn't Going to Raise a Dime
We have encountered this before — a staff or board leader who doesn't really understand fundraising and gets fixated on having a fancy brochure for the campaign. Of course, this is the answer to hitting a campaign goal!
Don't get me wrong, I admire attractive materials. But what I admire more — and really respect and appreciate — is the right strategy.
In this case we are talking a major campaign — major gifts, face to face.
Our study showed that the organization needs to better articulate its message. The organization had difficulty in gathering compelling stories about its impact, and we are now helping to address that.
But frankly, after conducting dozens of studies for organizations of various sizes and sophistication levels, I don't think one has ever come back saying that the client is a great communicator. One reason you conduct a campaign feasibility and planning study is to help refine your message. And that is a process, over time.
The good news — though overall awareness is important and we often make recommendations regarding this —is that major gifts are face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball relationships. That means all you have to do is articulate your message in less than 10 minutes, ask questions and be a good listener.
So a carefully crafted prospectus — one that can be tailored to each prospect as needed — is important. Remember though, it is more important that your staff and volunteers articulate your vision and share a story that moves the prospective donor and makes her want to be a part of the solution.
Make your campaign materials professional. Have them well-written and visually appealing. Know that some prospective donors will never read them and others will devour every word. It does give your staff and volunteers greater comfort in making their visits for major gifts. But don't let the journey for "impressive" materials take the focus away from the right strategy and making inspiring visits with prospective donors.
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.