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Do Donors Know Your Value?

Your budget says your nonprofit needs money.  Donors have money. Therefore, your nonprofit needs more donors.  While that is true, maybe something else is more important.

The thought that “nonprofits need donors” drives many fundraising campaigns.  Either directly or indirectly the fundraising messages is often “We need your support.”  When donors respond to that request, it is out of a sense of guilt or obligation.

Money is important to the survival of a nonprofit.  However, money is just a tool that makes fulfilling the promise of your mission statement easier.  Think of money as the donors’ way of saying thank you for all that your mission does to your community.  Their generosity tells you how much they value the promise of your mission.

Most importantly, a nonprofit must fulfill the promise of its mission statement.  When the promise is fulfilled, it becomes obvious to everyone that the community needs your nonprofit.  The donors will provide support because they want your nonprofit to do more of what you are already doing.  This is very different from providing support because the nonprofit needs support (subtext: survival depends on your support).

When a donor gives because they want your nonprofit to do more of what you are doing, they are pledging to provide support for as long as they perceive a need for your promise.  You also know that the donor is committed to being generous and loyal.  That is the basis of a funding stream with a high level of sustainability.

After fulfilling your promise, the next priority is having the evidence to prove you are keeping it.  Of course, ensuring that the promise is seen as relevant and its value is understood is also important.

The most generous gifts come from the desire to help others, change the world, or do good.  If you have evidence that you are fulfilling your promise and donor response is reluctant, there are three possible issues.  One is that your donors are expecting more from your promise.  A second is that your evidence needs to be more compelling.  This might mean for clients achieving success, more durable success, or success with greater depth or breadth.  The third is that it may be important to enhance donor communications.

The next time you need more funds to meet the demands of your budget, focus on doing the things that will increase donor generosity.  Put another way, give the donors more reasons to say thank you for all that your mission does for your community.

Next Step:

Emphasize making your nonprofit valuable to donors rather than emphasizing the donors’ value to your nonprofit

View money as the donors’ way of saying thank you for all that your mission does for the community

Use the growing generosity and improving loyalty of your donors, and the number of new donors as key indicators of your community’s gratitude for all that you do

One of the best ways to promote your evidence is to use the evidence to show the donors how much they are doing to improve your community.  This helps to connect the donors to the clients and the impact your promise is having on your community.  It deepens the sense of fulfillment the donor finds in giving.  This process makes it obvious to the donors how important your nonprofit is to the donors achieving what they want to achieve through their gifts.

The goal of fundraising is to make your nonprofit more valuable to the donor than any of the donor’s other options.  When your nonprofit is the nonprofit of choice you will have the money, sustainable funding stream, and increased sustainability you want.

Take It Further:

Use this same process to deepen the commitment of your volunteers (board members and others)

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