Time to Reinforce Your Fundraising Foundation?
Last Friday evening, my husband and I were relaxing and watching TV. Suddenly, he turned to me and said, “Are we having an earthquake?” I looked around and replied, “Oh. Yeah.” And we went back to our TV viewing.
I assure you, when we moved to Southern California seven years ago, we weren’t so cavalier. After all, the frequently heard public service announcement reminded us that “every day is earthquake season.” Previously we had lived all our lives with tornadoes, crippling snowstorms and 95 percent humidity. But earthquakes? That was a brand-new life experience.
So, despite the scoffing of colleagues and acquaintance who had lived in California all their lives, we had our 50-year-old house’s foundation reinforced to meet current earthquake standards. And we slept better at night.
Many nonprofits have experienced “earthquakes” in the last few years. Their funding bases included things like government grants, corporate and foundation giving, and the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). But those just aren’t as dependable these days. The government closes down and holds up distributions, corporations and foundations cut back or change their focus, and according to The Federal Times, CFC giving was down 19 percent last year. Talk about a shake-up!
If you’re ready to reinforce your fundraising foundation, these basic guidelines can help you transition to what can grow to be a strong and dependable base of support — individual donors.
1. Show, just don’t tell results
Government funders and many corporations and foundations want statistics and proof positive that your program can do what you claim. Follow-up reports are often crammed with charts and graphs and bullet-pointed outcomes.
Individuals, however, make giving decisions by engaging both their heads and their hearts. You need to paint a picture (figuratively) that lets them “see” the amazing difference that is possible when they give. Short video clips, newsletters filled with photos and stories of people who were helped, and posts online that share short vignettes help them fully engage with your cause.