The best advice I ever received

I follow Erik Anderson’s  Donor Dreams Blog. This week he posted a piece with the same headline as the one you see above. He explained that a colleague of his writes regularly under this headline. He must have received lots of good advice. I like the idea of sharing good advice. So here I am with the first of what may be many posts under the headline: The best advice I ever received. Funny coming from one who polices the use of for support

The best advice I ever received (part I) is this: Present a vision the donor can be excited about.

I was working on a planning study, interviewing a financially-successful young to middle-age man. I asked him about my client’s vision and if he found it compelling. As it turned out, the vision did not resonate with him, but what he said next resonated with me. He said, “Give me a vision I can be excited about and you can have my money.”

We humans are wired more or less the same. We are happiest when we choose purpose over pleasure. I am not against taking a pleasurable vacation; I rather enjoy it. I am talking about the innate desire to know that at the end of the day I have made a difference, my life has had a purpose. This week, I spoke with an individual who oozed with passion for a major project he had nurtured from inception to major campaign. This volunteer’s work and his giving will one day feature in his obituary, I am sure.

If you are not giving your donors something they can be excited about, these two adjustments can make all the difference:

1) Present your case from a different angle. Look for ways to make it about the donor and the impact of the gift. It’s never about the organization and its needs. Even a boring thing like a hospital bedlift, can be more saleable, if presented in a more meaningful way like: The best of care behind every curtain.

2) Adjust your vision. Let’s be honest, some needs are incredibly hard to raise funds for; they simply have no donor appeal. If your vision doesn’t resonate with those who can fund it, and reframing your case doesn’t work, then the vision may be fundamentally flawed and out of alignment with donor values. It’s time to rethink.

What about you? Are you presenting your donors a vision they can be excited about? Is it time to reframe or maybe rethink?
Febe Galvez-Voth

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