Last week, here in Louisville Kentucky, we celebrated National Philanthropy Day with our annual luncheon. It was an incredible event with about 450 people in attendance. As president of our local chapter, I shared just a few words about the importance of philanthropy before we presented our annual awards. Closing out our celebration, our speaker (philanthropist Christy Brown) received a standing ovation with her personal, inspiring story.
That brings me to my primary topic today: how can we grow philanthropy? Last week I tweeted the headline of an article that got a lot of attention: Stop Trying to Teach Goldfish to Juggle. If you don’t continue to the second page of the article, you might be left thinking that there are only two types of people in the world, donors – and non-donors, and that there is no way to cross the divide. However, there are in-between people, and then non-donors can still become donors at some point.
I believe that each of us who is in the business of fundraising and nonprofits is obligated, at some level, to share the joy of giving with those who have not experienced it before. Yes, I understand that the bulk of your gifts will be coming from people who are already in the habit of giving. However, if we’re not sharing the joy of giving, if we’re really just ‘stealing’ donors from other causes, we’re not building in growth in the numbers of donors we have, we’re doing the whole sector a disservice.
Okay. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Te primary way we can grow giving is to focus on the giver. Here are just a few thoughts of ways you can do that:
- Help the giver identify a cause that they are passionate about (or could get passionate about). Too often in life we are rewarded when we just maintain the status quo, don’t stand out, and don’t create a stir. Let’s remind people that one person can make a difference and give potential donors the opportunity to live that out.
- Rather than talking about a donation to your cause, try to connect them to an organization that addresses the cause they’ve just identified.
- Help the giver identify what their goals are – and then help them accomplish their goals (yes, including referring them to another organization).
- Give donors the credit for your organization making a difference in the world. Without the money, our organizations can’t accomplish the work we are called to.
- Finally, share your story. Let people know the difference that you (and they) are making in the world.
Those are just a few thoughts to help you get started.Please feel free to share yours in the comments below.
Would you like help learning to share your story and raise more money to support your cause? Through the end of the day tomorrow (November 20th), I’m offering a 35% discount on my Fundraising Jumpstart Homestudy System. Just use coupon code ‘list35’ when you place your order.