Successful fundraising is about telling emotional stories that donors and potential donors connect with. That they want to be part of. And that they want to share with others.
At the moment it seems that every day brings more news of charities large and small that are faced with a crisis of funding. They are having to make incredibly difficult decisions, reducing services, cutting staff numbers and in some cases having to close completely.
But charities are #nevermoreneeded
So how can you use effective communication to support your fundraising efforts in these difficult times? Looking at how your organisation communicates with a whole range of stakeholders, both internal and external, is a good place to start.
1. How will communicating well contribute to your overall fundraising goals?
A clearly told, emotive story will engage funders and donors with who you are and what you want to do right now and longer term to make a positive difference in the world. A compelling story should lead to investment emotionally and financially.
And remember to tell your story internally as well as externally – your employees and volunteers want to know that they are part of that story, contributing to that positive difference.
2. Who has a natural affinity for your work and is most likely to support it? If you are looking for new funders and donors, what is it about your story that they don’t yet know?
You need to get to know your donors and potential donors, what motivates and interests them, what do they already know and so on. Effective communication will help you connect with their immediate concerns for crisis funding. You can also build genuine long-lasting relationships with them. The same goes for your volunteers and employees.
3. What are your core messages?
Look for individual real life stories that illustrate those messages. Although many organisations are dealing with complex issues, if you can find a way to make those issues easier to understand, funders and donors will connect with you more easily.
Simplifying your message is not the same as dumbing down. You are aiming to take your audience with you on a journey through your area of expertise. Frame your organisation as part of the solution and recovery from the pandemic. People want to feel good about what they are doing, so give them a role to play in that solution; involve them in making something happen.
4. When and how do donors and potential donors want to hear from you? When and where will they be most receptive to your messages?
This is about timetables and deadlines for applications, but also about the times when they will be most open to what you have to say. Even if you thought you understood their requirements previously, things may have changed in current circumstances, so make sure you are up-to-date.
One final thought:
“People will only fund you if they trust you – and they will only trust you if they know you.” Judith Davey, Chief Executive, The Advocacy Project
Building trust is all about relationships and having a consistent story. Effective communication should be a core part of your strategy to build trust and raise that much-needed funding.
How are you communicating your story for fundraising at your organisation?
Until next time
Other articles in this series:
Solving process problems through effective communication
Solving motivation & productivity problems
The perils of no communication