Thursday, February 19, 2015

How Does Your Organization Stand Out to Donors?

According to multiple studies, those in our populations who are philanthropic do so with multiple organizations. Most people who give their wealth and resources do not do so with just one organization. This creates a competitive charitable environment. So what are you doing to allow your organization to stand out in the minds and hearts of these donors? How are you able to obtain a larger share of their philanthropic giving? What follows are just some of my tips to help you focus your efforts.

Demonstrate impact - One of the things that sets great organizations apart from good organizations is their consistent ability to show their donors where their money was spent and how it was spent and the impact of that investment on the organization. Might I say here that the other caveat is that these organizations make the donor the hero, and don't glamorize just the organization and leave the donor in the dust. It's not about you.

Don't waste their time- Most philanthropic people, heck, all people are busy. With work and life and family and activities and blizzards. Who has time to read a 4 page newsletter? Not the folks you're trying to reach. Remember the #1 way to access information about your organization is through the internet and the vast majority of information on the internet is accessed through mobile devices. If the donor has to scroll through more than three screens, you've lost them. Period. Average attention span of an adult is 7 seconds, a goldfish, 8 seconds. Need I say more?

Don't overwhelm with tons of info about you- Because this isn't about YOU. It's one thing to inform and educate, it's a totally different thing to shove your prefabricated mission and vision down people's throats. Give information in digestible forms. Become an expert at storytelling. If you tell a good story, they'll remember the facts. Use infographics and creative ways to express your data.

Be clever- If everyone else does it, why are you a lemming? Stand out and embrace creativity. Don't think outside the box, the box doesn't exist. Seriously if I receive one more solicitation that is 2 or more pages front and back in a windowed #10 envelope... grrr. What's wrong with taking a risk? Time to break free from the old standard and reinvent yourself. You'll attract new donors and impress the ones you already have.

Involve others to help you- I'm talking board members and volunteers here people. At MINIMUM your board has to have 100% participation in giving. With NO exceptions. If they don't give, why should I? If they don't like fundraising, great, have them thank donors instead. Everyone can have a role in helping your organization fundraise, it's not all about the ask. Peer to peer is the best. I've given to probably 40-50 organizations last year. Do you know how many phone calls or thank yous from board or volunteers I've received? ZERO. sigh.

What are your thoughts? How do you stand out from the crowd?

1 comment:

  1. Keep saying it Lynne! Worse still are the thank you letters I received, when I actually received any. They had to have been written by a finance committee keeping strictly to a template designed to say the least possible about the organization in the most unfriendly corporate language possible. The only good ones were from political parties, who told me exactly what I wanted to know: what they were doing with my money that matched my values and my reasons for giving.
    Stephani Agg, CFRE