- Stand in a donor’s shoes
All fundraising should be couched in everyday, normal language. Don’t talk about ‘charitable impact’; show how the money will help improve lives. Imagine you are sitting down with a supporter of your charity – a real person, not a ‘Dorothy donor’ profile or blanket group – chatting over a warm cuppa. What would you say? See the world through their eyes and you’ll immediately be communicating in a more natural and compelling way.
- Present the opportunity then get out of the way
We like to think that donors are devoted to our particular charity. It’s true, of course, that someone whose life – or loved one – has been helped by a charity’s services will feel enormous gratitude and a sense of loyalty. But far more commonly, it’s a charity’s cause that people feel connected and committed to. To forwarding it, in the case of education. Or stopping it, in the case of animal cruelty. Keep the cause front and centre. You, as charity, are simply the conduit between the two parties.
- Don’t’ beg people. Invite them
Frame support of your charity’s cause as an opportunity – it should be an invitation, not an ask. No one puts this better than our founder, Ken Burnett:
“Fundraising is not about raising money. It’s about work that urgently needs doing. At its core, it is about one person talking to another person about something they both care about. And saying to them, if we work together we can do something about that.”
- Set expectations – and stick to them
It’s a practical point, but ignore it at your peril. If you are going to invite people to tell you what they would like to hear about, be sure to follow-through. Any preference that you capture must be honoured from that moment on. Nothing riles supporters more than being asked what they’d like only to then find themselves stuck on the mailing list treadmill from before you asked. It’s also worth flagging to people that they have the opportunity to change their mind at any point along the way. Let them be in control.
- Opt-in. A human approach
We thought we’d have a go at a simple opt-in statement that’s framed from the donor’s viewpoint. For the purpose of example, we’ve made up a charity.
Take it. Test it. Use it. And let us know what you think in the comments below.
Helping sick donkeys get well obviously matters to you. So how can we best help you?
Please tell me about [ ] more opportunities to help sick donkeys through the Happy Donkey Trust, [ ] what my financial support helps to make happen.
I’d prefer to keep in touch by [ ] post [ ] email _______________________
[ ] phone call _____________________ [ ] SMS ______________________
Thanks. We’ll get onto it right away. And from time to time, we’ll check you’re still happy with what you’ve chosen.