Your cause was important before COVID-19 and it remains so now despite the global pandemic raging on.
As many in the charity space strive to find their place in the new ‘normal’, it can be easy to forget the why that sparked their cause in the first place. The last few months have been a shock to everyone. Navigating how to operate and survive during this crazy time has understandably been the priority.
Now more than ever though, the why behind your work is vital to the survival of your cause. In a world full of worthy causes to support, your story and why it matters will help you to stand out amongst a sea of potential supporters.
What is the story behind what you do? And why should people care about it?
Often, we need to look at the past to find our way forward. What was the spark that ignited the desire of your charity’s founders to make a difference in the first place? Your cause did not begin simply to provide services or complete projects. The services you currently provide and the projects you seek to complete are the outward projection of your why. The story behind your cause is the intrinsic life blood that needs to flow through every part of your donor communications, from your newsletter through to the Chairperson’s words on page 1 of your annual report.
The needs you meet in the community might look different right now because of COVID-19 but your why does not. If you have not already, it is vital to engage with your donors and potential supporters using your story and the stories of the people you are helping at this time. Your cause will have its own unique opportunities at your disposal to do this. Play to your strengths and use fundraising methods you are familiar with or those your team feels comfortable using (and remember to always provide a digital option). If you need some help with this, get in contact with one of AskRIGHT’s consultants.
Why sharing your story and the stories of the people you serve is vital, particularly now
People give to people – one of the fundamentals of fundraising. The stories of the people you have helped will always resonate more with donors than the details of your most cutting edge or innovative services. It helps donors connect with the people in need or the problem that needs solving. It also turns something massive that no one can solve by themselves into a bite sized chunk that the average donor can comprehend and provide a solution for. Giving $50 to feed a family for a week is tangible and a realistic proposition for most supporters. Asking them to feed everyone in the city who is experiencing poverty is vague and financially out of reach.
For the foreseeable future, people’s discretionary income will be reduced by factors either outside of their control (reduced working hours/redundancy/lack of return from investments) or by design (uncertain about the future and choosing to reduce non-essential spending). The average donor’s ability to give will most likely decrease whilst many charities will need to increase philanthropic revenue because of a high demand on their services, loss of existing funding streams, or both. Sharing your unique story and how you make a difference in people’s lives positions you to have the best chance of securing the support you need from existing and new donors.
Lastly, not doing so is a case of not only standing still in your fundraising but possibly going backwards. What are you saying to donors if you do not seek support? Has your why simply evaporated because of the pandemic? Are the people benefiting from your cause suddenly healthy/housed/fed/not important? Share with your donors the story of your work, the people you serve and why their gift is needed. It is more important than ever before.
About the Author
Dave has nearly a decade of fundraising experience working with a number of charities throughout New Zealand to grow their philanthropic income and raise awareness of their cause. He has strong knowledge and proven success across the fundraising mix including direct mail, regular giving, grants, gifts in wills, and events. See David’s profile here.
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