Fundraising: Tell Your Story Well, Part II
In this second blog of this series, we will continue to discuss the complications we face when there is a disconnect between why people give and the story we tell.
So What? and Who Cares?
I've had the opportunity to work with incredible outreaches working in Africa, India, China, with First Nations peoples in Canada and in the inner cities of the U.S. They are all doing amazing work that is worthy of the support of their donors.
When I sit down with the leaders of these outreaches, the first two questions I ask are so what? and who cares? To get the answers to these crucial questions, I further my interview with these inquiries:
- Tell me your story and why it matters
- Let me see some of your donor communication
- Whose lives are saved and changed?
- What is your impact on the world?
- Who would notice if you closed your doors next week?
- What serious problems do you address?
- How does a giver’s support help solve these problems?
- Why should I give today?
Sometimes, the answers can have a disproportionate focus on the organization. That is where the disconnect comes in.
Recognizing a Crippled Focus
The story revolves around the organization. There is an emphasis on its strategy, plans and activities, i.e. "what we do" and "who we are.”
Here are some examples:
- We mentor young men in the inner city
- We teach women in India to sew
- We train and equip rural pastors
- We feed 500 people a month
As noble as these activities are, they don’t answer the questions so what? and who cares?
I also hear a lot of "How much we need." For example:
- Our challenge is to finish with the necessary resources
- I invite you to consider a gift to make up the $400,000 gap we currently face
- We have a significant need: gift income of $250,000 is needed before December 31
- Our need is currently $190,000
This also doesn’t answer so what? and who cares?
I know there is a compelling story tucked into who you are, what you do and how much you need. I know the outreaches are making an impact, that lives are being changed and saved. Most of all, I know it is hard to find and tell the story that will help financial supporters care so they will act.
In the third and final blog of this series, we will explore three ways you can answer these crucial questions, tell your story well and help your givers care.
What kind of impact is your organization capable of?