Too many nonprofits end up asking themselves that. For sure that’s a tough question. It’s easy to blame the competitive marketplace and noisy culture. It’s easy to say that everyone is having trouble finding new donors.
All that’s true, but if you want to have new donors you have to ask yourself different questions.
Here’s what you should ask yourself:
1. Do we make it easy for outsiders to understand what we do? It’s depressingly easy to slip into insider language. That curse of the expert is a real (and deadly) phenomena. I know it’s tough to “dumb down” your language and your work, but that’s what you have to do if you want more than just a small cadre of insiders to support you.
2. Have we built enough unique “on ramps” for people to become first-time donors? If you’re like many nonprofits you have a great pitch for people who understand what you do. But. Do you have a simple, quick, way to help someone understand how they will change the world by giving a gift to you? Do you have a quick and easy strategy for pitching, convincing and harvesting?
3. Are we focused on what we want or what donors want? This is a tough one to answer. The easy way to figure out if you are doing this wrong is to analyze the language you’re using to attract new donors. Do you talk about what you want to do or do you talk about what donors can do through you? (That’s not a technicality or nuance, that’s what will make or break new donor acquisition).
4. Do you make the “need” crystal clear? It’s so much more satisfying to only talk about what you’re doing and parade around the great work you’re doing. But donors don’t give because of your results, they give to solve a problem. Even if they are impressed with your amazing work, they only give if they understand the problem you’re solving. No problem. No new donors.
If you bravely ask and answer these questions and shore up any deficiencies you’ll discover people will beginning giving. And remember, those brand new first-time donors, have a fragile relationship with you. Now you have to bond with them. That’s how you get that all important magical 2nd gift.
You can do it. Ask and answer the hard questions, don’t assume this isn’t your problem.
Let me know how I can help you.
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