Every now and again I come across one of those rare blog posts that sticks with me. Kivi Leroux Miller delivered one such post earlier this week. In particular, she has one line that I can’t stop thinking about:
We need to stop “treating a fundraising campaign like the end of the story… instead of the beginning of the story.”
Think about it. I always see organizations celebrating fundraising success and thanking donors for their contributions. But it’s much more rare to see organizations actually telling the story of what their fundraising efforts have enabled.
Fundraising is not what your organization exists to do; it simply enables you to do the work. Fundraising is not the story. It’s a means to an end.
Here are a few ways to reframe fundraising to be the beginning of your story.
Explain Your Fundraising Goals
It’s important from the outset of a fundraising campaign you have a goal. You know how much you need and why you need that amount. Share these details with your donors.
Tell them how specific amounts of money will be used. Tell them how much it costs to do the various aspects of what you do. Such info will not only help a potential donor visualize how their money will be spent, it also helps reframe the fundraising conversation altogether. You’re not talking about raising money. You’re talking about feeding children or buying medicine or restocking supplies. And the work in the community doesn’t stop when the funds are raised. It starts.
Tell Donors How to Stay Informed
Even before someone has donated to your nonprofit, tell them how they’ll be able to track what you do with their donation. Maybe it’s via frequent blog updates. Or your email newsletter. Or on social media. Or by logging into your website.
And then actually follow through, telling your donors the change they’ve enabled in the world.
Thank Donors by Telling Them What’s Ahead
When you’re thanking donors for their support, tell them what’s in store. Give donors an idea right away in your “thank you” how the donation they just made will impact the community.
Doing so changes the focus from “thank you for what you’ve done” to “thank you for the change you’re about to create in the world.”
Focus on Impact
One reason it’s appealing to celebrate fundraising goals is because they’re easy to quantify. Success is straightforward to measure and share.
Doing so with your organization’s impact in the community can be far more difficult. But there’s a good chance you have a variety of metrics you use to evaluate success within your organization. Use those as a starting point to share success with donors.
And consider alternative ways to share your impact such as:
- First-person accounts
Remember, donors are not merely giving you money. They’re supporting you in your effort to fulfill your mission. And they deserve to know how that’s going.
Have you seen any nonprofits doing a great job of storytelling? What types of content (stories, photos, videos, etc.) do you find to be most compelling? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.