skip to Main Content

Home Forums Module Five – Fundraising 2018 Fundraising Watch + Respond – What Did You Learn? 2018

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #2577
    Andrew Hill
    Keymaster

    This month, we have offered TWO videos to help introduce “Fundraising at 40,000 Feet”.

    One video is Seth Godin sharing his point of view about fundraising. One of his provocative comments is “making an average pitch to average people, or having an average gala for average people isn’t going to scale anymore”.

    The other video is an interview from The Better Fundraising Company that shares specific storytelling tips for more effective fundraising.

    A few questions to get the ball rolling:

    • What did you learn from the video you watched?
    • What was the “highlight” that you’ll remember even after this month’s class?
    • What insights/tips were particularly compelling to you? Have you seen any of these at work in non-profits?
    • Was there anything that did NOT resonate with you (where you disagree or felt the speaker was off-base)?
    #2677
    Jim Morouse
    Member

    Seth Godin says people give when they resonate with a pitch in a way that they could say “Of course I support them, because people like us do things like this.”
    Here are a few bullet points we’ve used to connect with donors about Leading from Within:
    – Leadership matters. Leaders are developed.
    – You’ve invested in yourself (school, networking opportunities, self-development), and look where it’s gotten you.
    – Now invest in someone else, someone who is dedicated to make our community better, fairer, more beautiful. (we can paint the picture of this person)
    – We (LFW) have what they need to succeed. You can make it available to them.
    – The end result is a better community – for all of us.
    ===============
    What about this “pitch” resonates with you?
    Jim

    #2678
    Dennis Tivey
    Member

    This quote from the Godin interview stuck with me: “There are no comfortable problems left to be solved. Nonprofits are supposed to be scientists – looking for solutions to the problems. It’s okay to fail. Nonprofits have gotten into an easy trope — give us money, and we’ll solve the problem. We need to say to our donors, ‘This is difficult, and it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but we can do it together.’”

    Anyone working in the social sector, public or private, is familiar with this problem. If a particular approach to solving a problem fails, you may lose the financial support that you need to work on the problem at all. Or the approach may succeed, but not in the way or in the timeframe that people are expecting, and thus it may be initially mistaken for a failure—and by the time the success is apparent, people have already lost interest or lost faith and stopped funding.

    A few years ago I read about a real-life example. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a longitudinal study began of two sets of low-income kids in the same Massachusetts community. One set got free preschool, the other didn’t. When the preschooled kids didn’t do better in grade school than the control group, free preschool was dismissed as a failure, and interest and funding for it dried up. But the study continued, with researchers checking in with the two sets of people year after year, decade after decade. And something astonishing became apparent: tremendous benefits accrued to the preschooled group, but not until well into adulthood. They earned more money and paid more taxes, lived longer and healthier lives, and reported more happiness and satisfaction than the control group. It turned out that the real benefit of preschool had been social—teaching kids how to get along with others—and those skills, built upon year after year, had ultimately resulted in more job offers and promotions, more supportive and resilient friendships, and a stronger and more tranquil family life.

    How many millions of kids could have grown up to have a better life if people had supported this approach instead of giving up when it didn’t produce instant results? I’d try to calculate that, but I don’t have the attention span.

    Godin continues, “Are you willing to do the hard work of telling your donors the truth about where we’re going to go next? The best stories [to tell your donors] are the true stories.” I take two things from this.

    One, we should be transparent. If there’s a big problem and you insist that things are going great, instead of explaining why the problem exists and what you’re doing about it, then the loss of trust is more harmful to your organization than the loss of face. See this decade’s scandal with Red Cross, last decade’s scandal with United Way, etc.

    Two, people care about people, not ideas. It’s the downside of empathy: we can’t seem to care about climate change to do much about it, but we care so much about that one kid who fell down a well that his parents are buying a new house from all the unsolicited donations (let’s hope the new house is hooked up to city water). People respond to individual stories. If you can get someone who has been helped to tell their story, that makes it real.

    #2679
    Andrew Hill
    Keymaster

    I really like the same quote at Dennis – “There are no comfortable problems left to be solved. Nonprofits are supposed to be scientists – looking for solutions to the problems. It’s okay to fail. Nonprofits have gotten into an easy trope — give us money, and we’ll solve the problem. We need to say to our donors, ‘This is difficult, and it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but we can do it together.’”

    The thing that ran through my mind is how do you engage the donors to be part of the learning journey with you. How do you make them scientists, too.

    #2680
    Andrew Hill
    Keymaster

    I really like the same quote at Dennis – “There are no comfortable problems left to be solved. Nonprofits are supposed to be scientists – looking for solutions to the problems. It’s okay to fail. Nonprofits have gotten into an easy trope — give us money, and we’ll solve the problem. We need to say to our donors, ‘This is difficult, and it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but we can do it together.’”

    The thing that ran through my mind is how do you engage the donors to be part of the learning journey with you. How do you make them scientists, too.

    #2694
    Skye Sander
    Member

    Great videos, so thank you for sharing and getting this going.

    One of the thoughts from the Seth Godin video which I liked and will try not to botch paraphrase was when he mentioned that great fundraising comes down to connecting the disconnected. It is achieved when you connect tribes of people that want to hear from each other, and you are at the center of it. Core to this is not only crafting the right message but also finding the right people to give the message to; an average pitch to average people won’t scale. The second video has great tips on crafting the right message: start with why; make it about the donor and recipient, not the organization; align your case with the donor’s case; give the donor a choice, you either help make a change or you do not; etc. But I am left with the following question: how do you find (or have you found) the right people to spend your time on?

    #2696

    I enjoyed both videos. Key takeaways were around engaging fundraising around the donor’s story rather than our own story. This connects us to the donor rather than trying to get the donor on board with our story.

    I summarized both videos for anyone who’s interested in the Reader’s Digest version. The formatting didn’t copy correctly and this is supposed to be an indented list. 🙂

    1. Seth Godin
    a. Need to develop a story that resonates with people
    i. The message (pitch) needs to be personalized
    b. Non-profits are, by definition, “okay to fail”
    i. They need to be comfortable with risk
    ii. Set appropriate expectations with donors about the truth of where they will go next (things take time)
    c. For the next generation
    i. “If you can raise money, you’ll never need to look for a job”
    d. People give because the value of giving is greater than the amount
    2. Storytelling Video
    a. 7 Tips for Great Storytelling
    i. Know why you’re writing to donors today
    1. “This is why I’m writing to you…”
    2. It’s important to provide the context quickly to donors
    ii. Donor needs to be involved in the story
    1. Beneficiary and donor need to be in the first 2 paragraphs
    iii. Be smart about how you use pronouns
    1. Say “you” a lot
    2. Say “I, we and us” as little as possible
    iv. Story should be unfinished so donor has a role to play in appeal letter
    1. Story is created to provide have an emotional impact on reader
    2. Story should end with letting donor make a choice to make or not make a difference
    3. People don’t like to be put in a state of cognitive dissonance (but you’ll get more donations!)
    v. Write your story like a storyteller, not a novelist or tech writer
    1. Storytelling is more
    2. Talk in a normal, human language
    vi. The story you tell is the donor’s story and not your story
    1. Enter the donor’s story and enable him to do more of what he wants to do
    2. We’re not recruiting donors into our cause, we want to be part of their cause
    vii. Repetition, repetition, repetition
    1. The call to action needs to be in the letter many times
    2. Don’t be afraid to be persistent
    3. Corporations know that they need to send the same message many times in their marketing campaigns

    #2697
    Jim Morouse
    Member

    Thanks Jonathan for the summary… that’s so helpful! Can you provide it to me via e-mail (I’d like to have it for future classes)?

    #2698

    I, too, liked how Seth Godin described non-profits as scientists, and that they exist because there are problems we don’t have solutions for. The thing I really took away from the video, and reading the article too, was a practical approach to fundraising and tips on how to make it less daunting. For those of us who are new to fundraising, it’s tough to know where to start without it seeming overwhelming. I like the pieces about storytelling, connection, and approaching it with the right attitude to help you be successful. I also think it’s fascinating that the interviewer has a whole series on fundraising experts; it’s a neat tool for others to access.

    Jim, thanks for sharing your connection points with donors for Leading from Within. I enjoyed reading those!

    #2699

    Wow its been a busy week! I can’t believe it Wednesday night already. What an interesting story Dennis and a nice recap Jon of the videos.
    I just watched the Seth Godin video and took away from it, not to overthink things, keep it simple, and explore. It sounds to me like he is saying, just find people to relate to, like you are exploring, and sharing with others the passion you have makes fundraising effortless.
    Although I realize Godin wants you to focus on the people that directly relate to your fundraising efforts, even if it were only a small group, I would have a hard time forgetting the average people like he said. To me passion can be infectious and if I were passionate about my fundraiser I would want to share that with everyone I could, even the average people.
    Interesting video! See you all tomorrow.
    -Autumn

    #2700

    We can’t wait to see you all tomorrow!

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Back To Top