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.
PUBLISHED IN F&P MAGAZINE - JUNE 03. 2019
“Why don’t we just do a campaign and raise $50 million?”
True story – I once sat in a meeting when a member of the senior executive made this statement. It was made like running a major fundraising campaign was the easiest thing in the world. Like $50 million would come to us just because we wanted it.
Of course, running a major campaign is not so simple. There is months, if not years, of planning to do let alone the resources and time needed to actively fundraise for major gifts.
No doubt, embarking on a major fundraising campaign is daunting. But there are three ways you can make sure you are prepared and ready to go.
1. YOU KNOW YOUR VISION
You can clearly articulate your vision. Not just your organisational vision, but your campaign vision. You are able to clearly state why someone should support you with a major gift. It can’t be for business as usual, it can’t be simply because you do good things. It has to be for something that inspires people, something that will change the world. If you can’t articulate that, you are not ready.
2. YOU HAVE PROSPECTS TO ASK
You have a supporter base. Who will you be asking? Do you have the community on hand to secure the majority of the funds? Or do you have at least a number of key supporters who have agreed to bring friends and peers into the organisation for a discussion about support? You need to test your vision with this group of close supporters, and undertake a feasibility study to ensure that your vision aligns with those you will be asking to support it. If not, back to the drawing board.
3. YOU HAVE A PLAN
You have a strategy and an implementation plan. Campaigns do not run themselves. While they can pop up rather unexpectedly, you do need to plan. These strategies need to include timelines, targets, resources, budgets and actions in detail.
And if there is a final point to be made… You have passion! You have everyone on board. A campaign is extremely difficult if not supported by the whole organisation. The board must be supportive as they will need to introduce peers, ask and promote the campaign. The executive will need to be supportive as they will need to back the campaign through funding, resourcing, asking and promoting. Staff need to be on board – after all campaigns are a lot of work and can be high stress. And finally, your community of close supporters need to be on board. If you can’t inspire them, what hope do you have of inspiring new donations to your organisation?
Teisha Archer is a fundraising coach and consultant specialising in major gifts and campaigns and Director of Teisha Archer Consulting. Teisha is also a Specialist Consultant Member of The Xfactor Collective – Australia’s first network of social impact consultants and coaches across 300 areas of specialisation that exists to support social changemakers to achieve their social mission. The Xfactor Collective has the sector’s first CONCIERGE service to help you get your projects off to a flying start, and a sector-first video library THE X-CHANGE., comprising 140 helpful videos for changemakers such as the links above in this article.