As a fundraising pro, do you focus on what your non-profit does and how it does it?
What you should be focusing on is the why, because that’s what donors care about.
I often ask fundraising pros why people should make a gift to their organization. They usually answer by talking about its successes, the challenges they face and their future plans.
When they finish, I again ask them to tell me why they do what they do and why they’re worthy of support.
Is it because there is a great need? Or maybe it’s because the executive director has a true passion for the cause.
When you dig into the why you will find that you shift from a rational explanation for the work you do to an emotional state of mind. And it’s emotion that makes your cause more compelling.
Sometimes, I have to ask why many times before I get to the real reason to support the organization.
I’m reminded of the story of a maintenance man at a local hospital here in the Chicagoland area. One day, the VP of institutional advancement happened to be giving a wealthy potential donor a tour of the hospital. He and the maintenance man exchanged hellos and the VP introduced him to the prospect.
The prospect had noticed how diligently the man had been cleaning the windows in the hallway and asked him about his work at the hospital. The maintenance man didn’t skip a beat. He said, “I try my best to keep this hospital looking spic and span clean. By doing that, I believe I’m helping to make patients feel better, even heal them a little faster.”
That’s why the maintenance man does what he does. He understands his why. What about you and your organization?
Whenever you feel that your fundraising efforts are getting stagnant, try asking yourself and your team “why” it does what it does. Hopefully, the answer you come up with will be as altruistic as the maintenance man’s answer was.