Not in any particular order here are what I think are the 5 most important words in fundraising.
- . Talk to and write to the donor specifically. Make it personal for them. If it’s not personal, it’s not powerful. Help them see how they have an opportunity or a chance to do something big. Oh, and please don’t communicate to “you and other donors like you.” Yikes, that’s a bad idea. You’re communicating 1 on 1. Always.
2. Change. Donors usually give to change something. They want to change lives or change a situation or solve a problem. Building a building is only important if it is changing something big in the world (other than occupying an empty lot).
3. Story. You don’t actually have to use the word “story” but you have to tell stories of real people in need. The more vivid the story the more likely donors are to respond.
4. Unless. Maybe my favorite on the list because it’s powerful and tricky. You have to make sure donors understand what will happen if they don’t respond. You have to be sure they understand the ramifications of not acting. This one’s tricky because you can’t, can’t, can’t guilt your donors (or as Hoots would say, “don’t ‘should’ on them”).
5. Feel. Donors have to feel the need or opportunity in their gut. Don’t make the tragic mistake of thinking that major donors aren’t emotional. Don’t get so consumed with making the statistical case that you forget to help them understand what it feels like to be hopeless, hungry, alone, abused, abandoned, etc. And you can hint at how good they’ll feel by helping.
That’s the 5 I have on this today. On a different day I might swap out and change one or two, but I’ll leave that to you. What have I missed?
Oh, and why didn’t I put “God” as number 1? A couple of reasons. The Oneicity Tribe is diverse to say the least, and while I’m a complete Jesus-person and make no effort to hide that on the blog, we allow room for everyone. So maybe you’d put God as your number 1. If you’re wondering why I didn’t, ask in the comments and I’ll give you my answer.
And I left off a big one because it would have been #6, and I couldn’t decide which of the 5 I’d leave out. I hope you come up with it because I want to discuss the concept with you!
So, what about you? Agree? Know the word(s) I missed? We’re in this together and I’d enjoy learning what you think.
(photo credit: squidish)