The information in this article is inspired by a conversation that I had with Yaacov Steinberg, a sales coach in the non-profit as well as the corporate world. You can listen to the podcast and others here: https://jewishpodcasts.fm/profitingwithnonprofits
How is fundraising like sales?
In both cases, you need to understand the potential buyer/donor-what they are looking for-and then asses if what you’re selling is the solution. The difference is, however, that with sales, the potential buyer may be enamored with what you’re selling but either they’ll either afford it or not.
With fundraising, it’s different. You have to do much more research into the donor you’re approaching. You have to know in advance what they value, what interests them, what gets them passionate. Then, you can sell the potential donor a part of your organization that is dear to their heart. In this way, you can get the donor to contribute whatever they can- and that amount will only increase if they have connected to your organization on a deeper level.
You have to be relatable.
A big mistake that non-profits do is that they fail to adapt. Most non-profits just start their organization on passion and fire, without full branding, funnels and the works. That’s okay for the beginning but at one point, that needs to shift in order for the organization to stay relevant.
In the past, donors gave a one-time big check once a year and they were satisfied. Today, donors like to give in increments. It’s a different approach to giving and we have to adapt to that. In the for-profit world, companies will ensure that they have steady retainers so that they know that they’re getting a certain amount of profit every month. The same concept applies to non-profits: make sure that you have loyal steady givers who feel your passion and want to keep giving.
Today’s donors like to give money over time or with a group. They feel more impactful when their small amount is accumulated either over time or with a greater amount of people. Organizations have to adapt to this trend if they want to stay relevant in this digital age.
It’s the same idea as following up. When you provide a service or a product (for-profit), the customer needs you. If you can get donors to feel the same way about non-profits, that’s effective marketing. Keep updating your donors so that they can see what changes you’re making to the world. Help them develop an appreciation for what you’re doing and they’ll feel like they need you in their lives.
Tip from Yaacov: Get yourself a mentor.
Find someone who has been in your space before you and listen to what worked for them. Really listen and see how you can serve your donors- not how they can serve you! Set yourself apart from others by tuning into how you can service your donors whilst avoiding being transactional about the funds.
Sean Littman is the founder and CEO of Catch22-Nonprofit Marketing, his out-of-the-box thinking, and approach to marketing have helped dozens of organizations both large and small, maximize their potential and see explosive results on all ends!
If you'd like to see how Sean can help your organization, book a FREE 15-minute call today!