Successful Fundraising Mindset series – Part 2

Invite, Don’t Plead!

Your role as a fundraiser is to inspire people while helping them connect with a way they can be part of making the world a better place, simply by giving money to you/your cause.

Absolute tragedies are real and sadly extremely prevalent in our world. However, fundraising letters that emphasize sob stories, poor-me pleas and even the simple facts do not inspire people to take action and give money generously.

They more often create a feeling of overload or guilt, resulting in potential donors wanting to shut the information out because it feels like yet another thing that needs their help when they’re already feeling bombarded.

Donors want to feel:

  • positive about giving
  • connected personally with the outcome or benefit
  • trusting that the people they are giving to have the highest level of integrity
  • that their hard earned money is being used in the most effective and beneficial way

Desperate pleading for funds often comes from a victim mentality. I heard a saying recently: “you are a victim once; after that you’re a volunteer”. That is a fairly confronting statement, but one to ponder. There are real victims all the time, but as someone trying to help through raising funds, your letters will be more effective if you can step out of this view.

It lifts you up from inside to be inviting people to participate in something positive in the world, rather than contributing to their sense of overwhelm and sadness or feeling hassled into giving even though they don’t feel emotionally connected with the cause.

Giving donations is similar to shopping! It seems like a terrible analogy, but it is well recognized that people buy things on emotion, and justify it later with logic.

Similarly, people will give to your cause because they connect emotionally. This is crucial. You need to make sure you have helped them engage emotionally, and also given them the information so their logical mind supports the emotional decision to give.

By Terri Nicholson, (B.Nat, B.Dip.Bdy.Psych), Fundraising Expert and Author of “Fundraising Letter Secrets – Letter-Writing for Effective Fundraising & the Mindset to Succeed” 2010.

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