Maybe you've looked at the work of charity:water and felt that twinge of jealousy. Why can't my organization be like that?
There are some painfully realistic answers to that question at re:charity: 7 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit's Brand Will Never Be As Awesome As charity:water.
- Your mission kind of sucks.
- You don't care enough about your donors.
- You're not pretty enough.
- You're spread to thin.
- You need to grow a pair.
- You break your promises.
- You don't have a good reason why.
These things are important. (Except, in my experience, #3. I've seen plenty of fundraising with "ugly" design work spectacularly and even more very attractive design fall flat in the marketplace.)
It's #2 that makes the most difference. Too many nonprofits think they can find a breakthrough to awesomeness by applying some kind of external force -- usually new Shiny Object of technology.
Not all Shiny Objects are bad things. Some of them really can help you be more awesome.
But they only have a chance of working if you actually put donors first. And that's true in whatever medium you're in, including the Inky Old Boring Objects.
That means you must:
- Put donors ahead of the taste and preferences of your executive director and board members.
- Put donors ahead of the emotional needs of your staff.
- Put donors ahead of what you wish they knew and understood and respond to.
Doing this will make your fundraising:
- More obvious
- More specific
- More concrete
- More emotional
- Usually more old-fashioned
The more focused you are on your donor, the cooler and more relevant ideas you'll have. And the more awesome you'll be.
And the more money you'll raise.
Tomorrow: 3 ways you could be like charity:water.