Before I started in the nonprofit world, I was at a very successful privately owned courier company. About a year after I started working there, I heard an intriguing story about the Managing Director: In the early days of the company, he’d been forced to live in a back room in the depot to make the company succeed.
I’d never doubted his dedication to his company, but a strange thing happened: it made me think about his commitment. And then it made me feel proud to work there, and more loyal to the company, knowing that he had poured his heart and soul into making it work. The impact of his hard work was clear – it was why we all had jobs.
All of that from a story that took less than 30 seconds to tell. To this day, I’m not even sure if it was just a company legend.
But how does all of this relate to fundraising? Well, your job as a fundraiser is to inspire people to act in support of the causes that are closest to their hearts. And then inspire them to act again. And again. And again.
When your donors hear about your cancer charity’s Executive Director losing her mother to cancer as a child, they instinctively know that their money is going to people who are just as committed to ending cancer as they are. You’re opening yourself right up, triggering base emotions that speak to their beliefs – you’re speaking through donors’ heart right into their souls, and they know deep down that they need to act.
You also need to share your accomplishments with your donors. This speaks to their brain, letting them know that your organization is making a tangible difference, and proving that you’ll be an effective and responsible steward of their funds.
Your own organization should be full of stories of why your directors, staff and volunteers do what they do. You need to pull them to the surface and tell your donors! It’ll strengthen the bond between you… and your donors are guaranteed to become more loyal.