If your nonprofit is tackling a big problem, you could have big problems when it comes to fundraising, unless you present the challenge to potential donors properly.
Let’s say you’re trying to solve homelessness in your city, cure a disease, or end world poverty. All three are commendable missions. And you might expect your supporters to rush to help out. Unfortunately, nonprofits with big goals like this scare away potential funders. That’s because asking someone to help you solve a big problem like world poverty is actually an incentive not to give.
It’s called the “drop in the bucket” effect. A donor who might otherwise make a modest gift (and modest is however they define it), feels that their contribution isn’t going to make a dent in curing a disease or ending homelessness, so they don’t donate.
But, how do nonprofits with big goals manage to raise the funds they need? In my experience, the ones that successfully meet their funding goals understand that people don’t give to cosmic visions of the future. They don’t give to abstract ideas. Rather, they give to people.
What this means is that donors want to see real improvement in the lives of the individuals they support. They want to see results.
So, if you want to change the world, if you want to end homelessness or solve world poverty, don’t present a challenge that no reasonable person could ever expect to solve. Instead, offer manageable steps for your supporters. Look at things from the donor’s point of view and show them how they can make a difference. Instead of saying that you need $10,000 a day to keep the doors open for a shelter for the homeless, you could tell people that a $20 contribution will put a roof over someone’s head for a week.
When you take your big goals and break them down into tiny, realistic goals, you end up raising more money.
And that’s why how you present your organization’s mission makes all the difference when it comes to fundraising.
The preceding is a guest post by Larry Johnson, an internationally recognized fundraising and philanthropy coach. Larry coaches worthy causes to achieve real impact by building stable revenue streams and guides philanthropists to realize their visions through informed generosity. He is the author of the award-winning book The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® and was named Outstanding Development Executive by AFP in 2010. The Wall Street Business Network ranks him in the Top 15 Fundraising Consultants in the USA. Larry is the founder of The Eight Principles, the premier source of relational fundraising products and services. He is a graduate of Yale University.