What scares you the most at your nonprofit?
From my daily work with nonprofit staff I believe it’s talking about what it takes to do your work . . . the money conversation.
You hope, pray, dream, and worry about the money. But when you talk about the money it’s often with scarcity language or duty and obligation language.
You use words like we need, help us, give now.
Unfortunately, those words are all about YOU and, frankly, don’t inspire me or many others to make a gift big enough to truly make a difference.
What if you talk about what it takes to ___________
[fill in the blank with an impact example of your work]
- Clean the river
- Provide a clean, safe home for a homeless teenager
- Help one vet find a job or the mental health care she needs
- Teach one child to love science or art
- Deliver an amazing performance
Supporters of your mission feel good when they can do more WITH you than they can do ALONE. That’s why they give in the first place.
Fundraising is about fulfilling the aspirations of your supporters.
YOU don’t need anything.
It’s the people whose lives are different because of your work who need something.
Those people, every one of them, need YOU to do MORE of what you do best: Deliver quality programs. They need you to continue to change your community — one person, one child, one family at a time.
To inspire your community to give more or give again during the barrage of people asking for gifts right now here are three simple and powerful actions to take:
Stop hiding what it takes (costs) to deliver all or some of your programs.
Don’t make this a big deal.
Don’t create a ton of spreadsheets and have hours of discussion.
If you don’t know, for now simply take the total budget and divide it by the number of people you serve.
DO talk about the BIG numbers. Thousands and hundreds of thousands. The REAL truth about what it takes.
Through the eyes of someone real, whose life is different because of you, tell what is good or special about what you do. Here’s an excellent example:
Share specific, short updates weekly or even every other day through year-end. Do this via email, and all of your social media channels, and on your home page, and at every meeting or phone call you have through December 31.
That’s too much you say?
My answer: How will I know what it truly takes to support you if you don’t make it clear? How will I know if I’ve done enough?
Not everyone reads or responds to the first message.
If you don’t beg or use scarcity words like HELP US NOW in all caps, but instead you use a photo that draws me in to learn what I made happen last year or last quarter or last week. . . it’s likely I may be inspired to give. Again.