Training for the Future of Fundraising
Most donors know that their $25 aren't going to be the straw that breaks the back of the camel of cancer, finally bringing the cure to light. But they want to know that their $25 are part of an investment your organization is making that is moving step by step toward the day when cancer isn't the threat it still is today. They want to know that another acre of rainforest is forever preserved or a child isn't going to bed tonight with an empty stomach or dread because tomorrow will be just another day of forced labor.
Whatever your cause, be ready to show progress. It may be (often is) slow. It may not be spectacular. It may be kind of hard for the average person to understand. But the fundraiser who succeeds in 2015 and beyond will be the one who can take the small steps of progress and turn them into the confidence a donor needs to continue investing to bring about the next step, and another ... until your organization can say, "Mission accomplished!" and close its door for good.
This old dog will probably hang up her leash sometime during the second half of the 21st century, but I'll be watching. Watching for the men and women who are passionate storytellers. Who read the results and make midcourse corrections. Who convince me that their organization is the one worth investing in because there is progress being made, one step at a time.
And that's where this old dog — and the next generations of philanthropists, as well — will be investing our dollars.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.