There’s an “F” word that even the most seasoned board hates to hear: fundraising. Boards should be your primary cheerleaders and fundraisers, leading the charge to support the organization’s mission and development through effective fundraising.
Yet many nonprofits struggle to achieve their fundraising goals and find their boards sadly lacking in that department. How can you overcome your board’s reluctance to be part of the fundraising team?
Three Tips to Make Fundraising FUN!
These three tips can help turn fundraising from the dreaded “F” word and put the FUN back in fundraising.
- Speak positively about fundraising: Many nonprofits bring up fundraising reluctantly as if it were a chore like cleaning out the garage. Instead of starting your fundraising discussions with sentences such as, “I know no one likes fundraising, but…” try to be positive about it. “Here is your opportunity to truly make a difference in our organization.” Help board members understand the positive impact their efforts make. Reframing the discussion around fundraising can help turn it into a positive activity rather than a dreaded chore.
- Provide training: Fundraising is more than asking people for money. Board members may not be aware of effective methods of fundraising such as storytelling (which we’ll get into in a minute). They may need coaching, encouragement, and examples to understand how to raise funds for the organization.
- Offer supporting materials: One way to make fundraising easier for your board is to provide them with supportive marketing materials and other items to make it easier for them to share the nonprofit’s story. For example, a video on your website or social media pages showing the positive outcomes of your foundation’s work can make it much easier to share the message with others about how your organization is making a difference. Powerful marketing materials can make it much easier to open up conversations around the organization and then close by asking for support.
Storytelling: Part of the Art of Fundraising
Communication professionals know that generalized information is difficult for people to grasp. Talk about a famine in Asia and people skip over it in the news. Share an image of one starving child and tell his story and people are galvanized into action.
The same goes for fundraising activities. It’s easy to say no to someone asking for a donation if you just ask for it for an organization. If you tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end, and a personalized message, people grasp the meaning. They are more likely to donate money to an organization.
Help your board understand the power of fundraising through storytelling by sharing with them:
- Personal stories and anecdotes they can use as part of fundraising conversations.
- Emphasize emotional connections. Emotions are remembered long after dry facts are forgotten.
- Draw people into the story. Listen to the best storytellers (TED talks are great places to go for inspiration and to learn how to frame a story).
- Teach your board members basic storytelling techniques – pacing, emotional connection, specific examples.
- Share examples on your website and social media platforms, too.
Stories hold great power. That’s why we start children off with fairy tales, fables, and imaginative stories when they are young – it boosts the imagination and helps kids frame the world around them. Stories for nonprofits help them illuminate their mission and vision and make it feel genuine to the people who can contribute funds to support the accomplishment of their goals. It’s the opposite of “begging” or “arm twisting” for donations. And best of all, it feels good to share the positive!
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.