Fellow nonprofit professionals, as year-end approaches and annual mail appeals and Giving Tuesday plans are being finalized, I am here with a special public service announcement:
No one wants to help you meet your damn fundraising goal.
There are, of course some exceptions. Someone MAY want to help you reach your fundraising goal IF you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- You are 8 years old.
- You are selling candy bars or wrapping paper or collecting pledges for the jump rope-athon.
- You are soliciting your mother or grandmother.
If you don’t meet any of these criteria, PLEASE stop building your ask around the attainment of a fundraising goal. PLEASE.
There are so many things wrong with this “strategy” that I don’t know where to begin. But here’s a start:
- Meeting the fundraising goal is about what you need – not about what needs you are meeting.
- Meeting the fundraising goal is about money. Money is a tool – not a goal.
- Meeting the fundraising goal is transactional. Financial “transaction” is not the basis for any long-term relationship.
NONPROFITS DON’T HAVE NEEDS.
COMMUNITIES HAVE NEEDS THAT NONPROFITS FILL.
Your inspirational year end ask should be about the DONOR and how they can help you meet needs in your community. What are they investing in? Who will benefit? What is the community impact?
Drill down to your most basic unit of service. Tell a story of one child, person or family whose life has changed because of your work. Use statistics carefully (if at all). Folks seldom remember them. However, they WILL remember a remarkable story.
While you are at it, be sure to plan what your very next contact will be with your year-end donors. Following their gift, how will they hear from you? What will the message be?
So many nonprofits treat the end of the year mailing like an invoice. They send them out and some folks pay them. We can do better.
Give them something to invest in. Then you will reach your fundraising goal.