PUBLISHED IN F&P MAGAZINE - 20 JUNE 2019
Making It Personal To Inspire Philanthropy
Some years ago, I was chatting with a valued supporter of medical research. I asked her what her reasons for giving were, and I am sure you have heard similar stories.
I don’t want others to suffer as my loved one suffered…
I want others to have the opportunities I had…
This cause is important to me…
What struck me was that giving is so personal, and just a little bit selfish. OK, stay with me here. I don’t mean selfish in the sense of wanting more and wanting it now. I mean that the reason for giving is so often that by giving ‘my’ world will be better. Of course, through philanthropy the world is likely to be better for others too.
In my consulting, I spend a lot of time with organisations talking about why they do what they do, and how to make that personal for each and every prospective donor that they will approach. For every ask, I suggest they consciously consider the donor asking the question: ‘But how does this affect me?’ By having a plan to answer this question without it ever actually being asked puts the organisation on the front foot in understanding their donors’ reasons for giving.
So how do we make it personal?
We need to flip the script from what we need, to the world they want to see. We don’t have a conversation about an expensive piece of medical equipment, we talk about eliminating disease so future generations won’t suffer. We don’t have a conversation about scholarships, we talk about enabling the brightest mind to solve the most complex of our world’s problems. We don’t have a conversation about the purchase of tape recorders, we talk about preservation of cultural heritage and the importance of sharing stories with generations to come.
OK, a quick example using a piece of equipment for medical research. You need a machine. It’s big and it’s expensive. It’s complicated, but it will allow you to better understand a disease. So, instead of telling the story of the scientist who will operate the machine and their qualifications, or how the machine works, what the machine does and how much it costs, let me tell you this.
Imagine a world where no one needs to suffer from (insert disease here). Imagine you could simply go to the doctor and have a test to show if you will ever get (insert disease here). Your husband, your daughter, your best friend, YOU. With the test you can know you are clear, or if not, get the preventative treatment required so that you never have to suffer the effects.
This could be reality. In fact, we have the experts that can make it happen by 2030. But we need your help.
Straight away I think of my loved ones who have suffered from disease. I am engaged. This is the world I want to see.
How are you telling your story? Are you telling a story of what you need, or the change your prospective donor wants to see?
Flip the script and let’s talk about how the world will be a better place for meif I support your organisation.