One of the major obstacles you can run into while fundraising online is sending out the wrong message. This is known as the "it's all about us" disease. Many nonprofits fall into this category, where all of their communications read like an "About Us" page. Your mission statement, the history of your organization and all other related information should be found on that page on your website; not everywhere.
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Your goal should be to stop talking about your mission statement constantly or how much you need money and adopt a more donor-centered approach. In other words, focus more on your donor's needs, wants and interests. Think about how you can connect to your supportes on an emotional and human level.
Here are three principles to keep in mind as you plan your fundraising messaging:
Answer "Why me?"
Something becomes donor-centric when it answers the question "Why me?" Instead of droning on constantly "About Us", you want the potential donor to have answers for the questions "Why should I care?" and "What does this have to do with me?"
- Use compelling human interest stories and attach them to donor experience.
- Appeal to values you know your donors have.
Inspire with Stories and Visuals
Being need based isn't enough, you can't simply repeat that "We need money." There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. alone-and guess what, they all need money.
- Differentiate yourself and show what will happen if somebody takes action.
- You need to be good at telling your story, the story of those who you have helped and the story of those who have helped you.
- Use large and compelling imagery to connect emotionally with potential donors.
Boil It Down
Unfortunately, the bigger the problem you are tackling, the less likely it is that someone is going to think that they can make a difference. It can have the opposite intended effect and paralyze people into inaction.
- People can't relate to gigantic numbers and impending global doom. Boil down your message to human faces and stories that people can relate to. Remember, when it comes to motivating people to act, a single orphaned puppy can outperform a million homeless people.
Source: Adapted by Jake Emen from Katya Andresen's Nonprofit 911 Presentation "Cultivating Donors Online"