- Tue, February 02 2010
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
And if you are as a fundraiser, you really should not be thinking that way in the first place, folks.
If you do it right, fundraising is not a zero sum game.
My wonderfully provacative blogger friend Eric Foley says we should stop looking at Haiti as a diversion from our own missions, and I could not agree more.
Read his whole post today, and especially note this good advice:
So if you are a nonprofit and you suspect your donations are down due to the Haiti disaster, what should you do?
He says (and I quote):
1. Don’t–just don’t–write your donors and draw comparisons between the disaster in Haiti and the disaster your cause addresses. Never ever contemplate writing a letter that says, “It is a terrible tragedy that 200,000 people may be dead in Haiti due to the earthquake, but did you know that that number pales in comparison to the number of people who will die this year because of [insert your cause here] unless we do something today?” Even if that approach doesn’t backfire on you, it should. The deaths of 200,000 human beings should never be invoked as a means to any end.
2. Do accept the drop in your donation income as a sign that one sows what one reaps. If one motivates one’s donors through a micro-disaster-of-the-month-club approach, one must accept that when a bigger disaster comes along, your micro-disaster will be trumped that month.
3. Commit to a fundraising approach that recognizes that donors can–and should–be giving to a comprehensive range of causes. Encourage that with more than lip service. Provide resources (like Alan Gotthardt’s Eternity Portfolio) that enable your donors to learn to grow in their giving maturity, not just in their gross giving to your cause.
4. Don’t focus on sharing the desperate needs of your organization with your donors. Organizational desperation doesn’t motivate donors any more; in fact, if they smell death, they will move on and away from you as discretely as possible. Instead, continue to provide donors with meaningful opportunities for involvement with the cause about which both you and they care. Settle in your own mind that people can and do (and should) care about more than one cause, and reaffirming the comparative importance of the one you’re involved in is far less important (and dignified) than continuing to provide customized, personalized opportunities for donors to build on the important work they’ve already begun with you.
5. Convey your genuine interest in Haiti by being genuinely knowledgeable about the subject and transparent in your own response to the disaster. (You did respond–didn’t you?) If you are comprehensively involved in a wide range of causes other than your own (which you should be), your care and compassion will come across as a whole lot more compelling than if you have no idea what’s going on in Haiti and didn’t respond to the disaster at all. The best picture your donors will ever get of being appropriately involved in more than one cause–is you.