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How, What, but Why Is First

The loyal and most generous donors are those who are emotionally engaged. Does every communication they receive from you build their emotional ties to the mission and the clients?

Are you like me? Every day I sit at my desk and focus on what I need to accomplish. I ask myself how will I accomplish the work that I have in front of me. When I start a project, I ask myself how can I be most effective and efficient. I want the how to separate me from everyone else who does something similar because that will ensure that the people I serve receive the best possible service.

I know why I do what I do so I rarely think about the why. The why never changes. The what and how are constantly changing so they are always at the front of my mind.

Now think about fundraising. Here are two scenarios to think about:

New person meets a development director – The development director introduces him or herself and the organization with something like, “Hi, I am Jim Smith with Community Housing of South Westville. We provide housing for the homeless.” (That tells the new person what the nonprofit does.)

Periodic nonprofit newsletter – “We are happy to report our ‘Peace in the Family’ program started last month to help protect children from abuse.” (That tells the reader how the nonprofit is carrying out their mission.)

The preceding examples deal with important problems but neither is emotionally engaging. Why we do what we do is important and emotionally engaging.

New person meets a development director – The development director introduces him or herself and the organization with something like, “Hi, I am Jim Smith with Community Housing of South Westville. We believe every life is precious. To protect lives and reduce suffering we provide housing for the homeless.” (That tell the new person why the nonprofit exists.)

Periodic nonprofit newsletter – “The children in our community need protection. Child abuse is on the rise in our community. We are happy to report we have taken a step toward reducing child abuse. Our ‘Peace in the Family’ program started last month.” (That tells the reader why the nonprofit is doing what it does.)

The preceding examples start by involving the listener or reader emotionally. The examples then offer the listener or reader emotional relief (reduction of the suffering).

Next Step:

Think about the emotional appeal of your mission and the needs of your clients

Make note of why you work for your nonprofit

Review all of your communication messages (verbal, newsletters, website, thank you notes, appeal letters, etc.) and rank their emotional engagement

Think about how to rework the messages you use to incorporate the emotional appeal of your mission, client needs, and your reason for working for your nonprofit

When you add your reason for working for the nonprofit to the mix, you provide sincerity to the message. Sincerity is critical emotion. The mission and client needs draw emotion from the donors. Your sincerity is an emotional gift to the donors.

Emotionally engaged donors are generous, loyal, and the core of a sustainable funding stream.

As always, contact Mission Enablers if you want help. We use a special process that offers a guarantee. For more information about our process and guarantee, you can click here.

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