Would you be missed? Lately I’ve found myself reminding nonprofit leaders that, more most organizations, it matters less who you are and more what you do. It’s the cause that counts. The days are over when we can simply say “give to because we do good work – trust us because you recognize our name.” We must talk about impact – and stories – first.
Two blogs this morning caught my eye. The first is by Kate Olsen on the Network for Good Blog entitled Brand Success 2.0 = Improve Quality of Life. She approaches impact from the corporate perspective. A survey of consumers found they felt that 70% of brands could go away – and they probably wouldn’t notice. That made me reflect on our nonprofit organizations. Is it possible that 70% of nonprofit brands, nonprofit organizations, could go away and not be noticed?
That led to the next blog post on my RSS feed – The Agitator is always good food for thought. Their post, Would Your Donors Miss You, reflects on just this issue. There are some recommended steps for engaging donors in your organization so that you can really wow them.
Here are my thoughts on ways that you can make your organization unforgettable:
- Help you donors catch up so that they fully understand the importance of your work. Too often, we get frustrated because others ‘just don’t get it.’ Rather than do our job of helping people catch up with where we are. We try to give our conclusions, thinking that people will just adopt them – rather than giving others the same information we have and let them come to their own conclusions.
- Tell stories. Statistics are great and need to be included (most people make decisions to give based on emotion, THEN look for statistics to back up that decision). But we need to lead with a single compelling story.
- Truly invite people to become part of the movement, part of the cause. It’s interesting to me that while some are lamenting that people aren’t volunteering like they used to, we have people who making major life adjustments to be part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. We can engage people if we invite them to be part of something bigger than themselves.
- Say thank you in meaningful ways. This might ruffle a few feathers, but donors are just as important to your work as the work that you are doing. They are not just a necessary evil. Let’s think about that for a moment. In some ways, having people who want to contribute to you is validation that the work you are doing is in the public interest. If there are no people who want to contribute to a cause it’s telling me one of two things: (a) there really isn’t a need or (b) (most likely) there’s a different way to explain what you’re doing so that people will better understand it. Regardless, we can’t take our donors for granted. Say thank you in ways that are meaningful for them. If you’re not sure what’s meaningful, ask them.
Those are some of my thoughts – what are yours?