Putting A Positive Spin On Your Fundraising Effort

Saving your donors imageQuick quiz – would you, as a donor, prefer to have money you donate this month help an organization thrive or survive in 2010?   If you are like most donors – the answer is thrive.  Then, why do so many organizations use the desperate measures pitch year after year?

In many cases, it is seen as a simple mathematical equation.  If you don’t raise the money, you won’t survive. And, in the past when you have explained the facts to donors, you have raised the necessary funds.  A tried and true strategy so why change it, right? Wrong.  The recession is two years old, the unemployment rate is 10% and Americans who are employed are nervous that things could change at any moment.  The survivor mentality echoes their own insecurities about whether any of us will be in the same position six months from now.

Let’s succeed together
You will, of course, continue to add and subtract your revenue and expenses to determine how much you want to raise each year.  The change is in the language used to be more positive about your future, to create long-term partnerships for your organization and still get the same pressing need across to your donor.

Instead of:
Without your help, we will have no way of continuing all of our programming into the coming year.
Your support, along with other valuable donors like you, ensures we can continue to provide multi-generational programming for more than 500 participants in 2010.

It’s a rather basic concept.   More and more organizations are vying for the same dollars.   Why should you give to an organization that teeters on the brink each year?  There are only so many times you want to save an organization that won’t save itself.

Instead of calling a donor and saying,
“We have a $50,000 debt that we need to pay.  We know you have been a supporter in the past, can you help us again this year?”
“We are so excited to announce that we have created a two-year plan to eliminate all debt.  We are hoping you will partner with us to reach our goals.”  But you better make sure you have that two-year plan.

The truth is, I have seen valuable organizations close their doors because they relied on desperate pleas for one too many years.  Once closed, the people involved often believe it was the lack of donors that were the cause of their demise – and not the lack of reasons to continue to give to the organization.

Stay positive.  And believe in your organization as an individual, as a voice of the organization and as an institution. If you don’t believe in your long-term survival –no one else will either.