As I prepare my presentations for this year NRPA conference in St. Louis, I've spent a lot of time reflecting on what makes fundraising so daunting and how I can convey (in one hour) some of the things I have learned since I went to a full time fundraising position.
Two big words pop to mind - people and emotions...
Many of you reading this don't know me, so if you want to talk to me about your organization's mission and work, you go into it blind without really knowing if I will be receptive or not. So, when we meet new people, we need to remember that not everyone is going to love our organization. (If you talk to me about sports, you'll lose me... talk to me about animals and wildlife, I'm on the hook. This is not about whether an organization is good or bad, its about how I (your potential donor) FEELS about the organization and the mission.)
For example, if someone from an animal rescue organization takes the time to talk to me about their mission - spay and neuter programs to reduce the population of domestic animals in the United States - they will not only have my attention but likely have to listen to ME talk long and loud about my opinions on our "throw away" society and my wish that we could somehow turn the tide so that so many precious animals are not homeless, suffering, or euthanized every year. (Uh oh, can you see passion coming through?! Yep, from a mile away!) Meanwhile, back to my example, when the person who was hoping to talk me into becoming a donor sees my fervor, hopefully they will invite me to get involved, tour the facility, volunteer at an event -- harness that excitement! Next, when they know me better, they will know that asking me for a donation toward the Spay & Neuter program feels like the right ask... ask me about funding the Feral Cat program, probably likely... ask me about funding the pet book lending section, maybe not so much (worthy, but not my passion, see?)
So... my thoughts for you today are to remember that is about people, emotions, and connecting them (and their money) with something they love! More thoughts on this coming soon! Thanks for reading!