Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category
When I was a full-time fundraiser, there were many things that I was expected to be an expert on: our mission, the reasons behind the need we served, raising money, budgeting, planning, public speaking, writing, and so much more. Most importantly, I had to know everything about the ins-and-outs of our cause and our community.
You probably feel the same way. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but being seen as the expert by your volunteers and donors is imperative to instill the trust required to build relationships and make those transformational gifts. This applies not only to you, the fundraiser, but also to the executive director, the entire staff and even the Board of Directors.
So, what is the best way to be perceived as the expert?
Hands down it is producing high-quality content and sharing what you know with everyone you can.
You can communicate your expertise through your website, newsletters, public presentations, media interviews, and even special events. In fact, the better job you do at setting yourself up as the expert, the more likely the media will call you first when they want an opinion on your area of expertise!
Think about ways you can showcase your knowledge and educate your donors (and the general public) about your cause so they not only are empowered to give, but also have the confidence that you will use that gift properly.
When you write, strive to shoot for a good balance between demonstrating your expertise and being relevant and interesting to your reader. Ultimately, your writing needs to build trust, deepen relationships, and compel people to give.
How do you know when you’ve reached your writing goals?
You’ll know. People will tell you how much they enjoyed your presentation. They’ll comment on your blog. They’ll send in more gifts after they read your newsletter.
One of the best ways to create a loyal donor base is to give them something to believe in. People don’t want to just give your nonprofit money – they want to be part of a cause that’s making a difference and making a change.
You know the old saying about “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day…?” Your best donors want to help you teach folks to fish, not just give them a fish.
In his book Enchantment – the Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, Guy Kawasaki talks about the power of a really good idea and how it can transform experiences.
Kawasaki says “in interactions, your goal is not merely to get what you want, but to bring about a voluntary, enduring, and delightful change in other people. By enlisting their own goals and desires, by being likeable and trustworthy, and by framing a cause that others can embrace, you can change hearts, minds, and actions.”
Think about that – instead of just raising money, what if you did something bigger, and helped people buy into the ideal you are pursuing?
For example, if you work for an animal rescue group, what if you promoted the ideal that no-kill is the way to go? What if people got so adamant that animals should not be put down? What would happen to your fundraising? I think money wouldn’t be a problem for you. People would be so passionate about the cause that they’d be eager to help, and bring their friends with them.
The book is a great read and full of interesting stories and nuggets of wisdom.
If you’re like me, you work hard (and maybe too much). I’m totally guilty of being a workaholic sometimes, but I get so excited about the fundraising work I’m doing that it’s hard to stop.
It’s equally important to play hard and to rest. In this day and age, there is so much emphasis on getting fundraising results that we push ourselves harder and harder, to the point of illness and exhaustion.
This also applies when things seem tough; when you have a difficult time concentrating or when everything seems to just be harder to manage. If you find yourself exhausted and overwhelmed and things just aren’t flowing easily, then it is time to breakaway (even if it’s just for an hour or an afternoon).
You deserve a break (from fundraising and life)
When was the last time you did something to give your mind and body a break? You don’t have to go away to experience the pause that refreshes. It’s important that we all build in some time every week and maybe every day to give ourselves a little break.
I give you permission to slow down. Now.
Please take this seriously, because it really does make a difference. Go see a movie. Take a nap. Sit on your porch and watch the traffic go by.
Once you see how wonderful it feels to slow down, I bet you’ll do it again.
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How do you recover and rejuvenate? I want to know (maybe I’ll give it a try next time I need to get away from it all). List your favorite way to take a break below in the Comments section.
I love the beach and last week, I had 3 days of meetings at Myrtle Beach. (I know, life is tough!)
And of course, I managed to get some time actually ON the beach. I love digging my toes in the sand and playing in the water.
I noticed some little mussels digging themselves back into the sand every time a wave took the sand off their top. And it got me to thinking. How many things do we do because that’s how we’ve always done it? How much stuff do we do in our fundraising program, in our nonprofit, and in our lives, because of habit?
Check out this video I shot and edited (hey, Steven Spielberg I am NOT!).
I remember when I was a new Development Director, I did a lot of things because that’s what had been done the year before. It took me a couple of years to WAKE UP and start doing things because they worked or because they gave me a specific result. Once I snapped out of the haze, I stopped doing some stuff that didn’t work. I ended an annual event because it was more trouble than it was worth, and didn’t bring in enough money to cover all the costs and staff time. (That’s a killer isn’t it? We don’t usually count staff time on events.)
I challenge you to take a hard look at everything you’re doing to raise money and make a conscious decision about whether or not it should be done again. My guess is that you’ve got some things you can stop doing.
I’d love to hear from you if you decide to give something up. Would you post a comment here and share? (I personally read all the comments.)
As humans, we tend to like staying in our comfort zone.
I admit, I’m not always a big fan of doing new things. I don’t consider myself a Nervous Nellie, but I’m not likely to engage in extreme sports either.
It’s actually good for us to stretch and do things that are a little scary. It’s only in those moments of uncertainty where we find out who we really are and what we’re really made of.
Here’s a HUGE aha moment I got last week having some fun at the beach and doing something a little outside of my comfort zone.
No part of fundraising has to be scary. Focus on the people who will benefit from the work your organization does, instead of the nervousness you might be feeling. Their need is greater than your fear.
Are you doing the work you are here on this planet to do?
If you’re a heart-centered fundraiser, you love working in the nonprofit world. You love knowing that the work you do helps people and changes lives. You love the warmth and satisfaction you feel in your heart at the end of a well-done day.
It can be easy to pour your whole heart and soul into your work because you care that much.
But sometimes, you can get out of alignment with that calling, or worse, resist it.
If you’re like me, you know what you’re supposed to be doing, but you either get distracted, get scared, or something gets in the way.
I read a great book recently that helped me get my feet firmly planted on the path of my calling. The book is “Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work” by Tama Kieves.
In the book, Tama says “You’re meant to succeed in the work you love.” What that means is that you’re not here just to do the work, but be successful in it. You’re MEANT to do big things.
I think that I was created for exactly the work I do. Both of my grandfathers were preachers. My dad was very involved in community and charitable work. It was inevitable for me to be a trainer and fundraising coach. And if that’s my gift, why not be the best trainer and fundraising coach I can be? Why not help as many people as possible?
So how about you? How can you be the best ______ you can be? (Insert whatever you call yourself)
When I worked at the food bank, I knew that when I did my job well, people ate. At the rescue mission, I knew that my success gave people a hot meal and a roof for a night. What I did mattered.
It’s time for us to ALL step up to our calling and embrace it whole-heartedly. No more hiding. No more fear. Just playing full out.
Tama says “If you’re willing to leave the pack behind, you will come into an inspired power that will blow away your hesitations, your limits, and your training wheels.” Can you imagine what it would feel like to have an inspired power fueling you?
Let’s try it and see. The world is full of hurting people who need what our nonprofits have to offer.