Withisms from Lori

Boldness, clarity and wisdom for fundraising professionals making a difference.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It IS all about communication

Sharing your message in fun, interesting ways causes funds to flow

“This all sounds like it’s about communication?” This comment was made last Saturday by a board member at a coaching session where I was helping the group of passionate community members figure out how to raise funds for a capital campaign with a short, 2-year time frame.

I smiled and said, “You are correct! It’s ALL about communication.”

That comment changed everything for the group.

Before I arrived they were looking for the magic “event” or donation page. When I explained that the “message” they share is the key, you could see light bulbs going off inside of people’s heads.

We then made a laundry list of places they plan to be clear and bold and communicate their goal and their timeline:

  • Website
  • Donation page
  • Signage outside the building
  • When they are speaking in the community
  • When they meet as a group
  • Print newsletter and enewsletter
  • Case brochure
  • In press releases
  • On the radio
  • On their Facebook page
  • On Twitter
  • At any inspirational event or “friend-raising” gathering they hold
  • At tours of the building
  • When speaking to business owners
  • On the phone or in person in conversation with friends

The light bulb moment for this group was that it IS the message and sharing it over and over in fun, interesting ways that will cause the funds to start to flow. The “ah ha” was that it was not just the marketing committee’s job to ensure the message about the campaign is being shared. It is everyone’s job to share their message anywhere they are communicating with others.

The four things I recommend must be included in the communication are:

  1. What’s new and working well with the project?
  2. What is missing? What is it that they need the funds for: Telling us the actual dollar amount raised to date and what’s left to raise by the deadline. And what else can I do besides give my money?
  3. Share at least one real life example/story about the project and the people who have been touched by their project.
  4. Ask the listener or reader a question causing them to comment back and then LISTEN to what interests them about your project.

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