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Your Emergency Isn’t Their Emergency

“Right now, on my desk, I have a stack of spring appeals. There must be at least ten of them sitting there. And here’s the thing: they’re all marked “Urgent” or “Extremely Urgent.” I’d like to help those that truly have an urgent need, but how am I supposed to know who really has an emergency situation on their hands?

Welcome to the mind of a donor faced with one too many “emergency” appeals.

When your organization is faced with an immediate financial need, you need to keep in mind that your immediate need may not interest your donors in the least. Not only that, just because the need poses a big problem for your nonprofit, does not mean it’s the donor’s problem.

Having said that, donors will respond when the situation is serious and well explained. However, continuous “life-or-death” appeals will put a strain on any donor’s loyalty.

Sooner or later, donors will begin to wonder if their relationship with you is one of responding to crisis after crisis or a true partnership in which you both are working together to find solutions to problems over the long haul.

That’s why it’s so vital that you clearly articulate the specific end use of funds received. It allows donors to see that there is a plan, a blueprint for helping to make your community, town, state, or the country the best it can be.

With your staff, your volunteers, your board and, yes, even your executive director or president, remember to stress to them how important it is that they continue to relay the end result of donor contributions to prospects and donors they come in contact with daily.

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