How big is your non-profit’s vision?

What kind of a story are you telling your donors to make them want to give transformational gifts to your organization?

If you’re like most non-profits, one of the major reasons you aren’t raising more major gifts is because the story you are telling about your non-profit is way too small.

Your organization does great work, and deserves to raise the money it needs to thrive.  But if you are looking for major gifts, you need to cast a vision that is worthy of a large investment from your donors.  Simply put, donors don’t want to invest in small visions.

Let Your Donors Be Part of Your Story

Everyone on Earth wants to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.  That’s why people read epic novels, listen to soaring symphonies, and spend two hours watching an adventure unfold on a movie screen.  It’s why your friends and neighbors join community groups, advocate for causes, and volunteer for local organizations.

Most people don’t like the fact that they get bogged down in the minutiae of daily life.  They want to escape the humdrum of work, school, chores, commutes, and sleep.  They want to be caught up in a larger story and in a larger purpose.  And whether you know it or not, your non-profit can be one of those bigger stories for your donors and prospects.

Your non-profit is saving lives, changing lives, saving the world… (or at least your corner of the world).  Are you telling that story to your donors?  Are you casting a world-changing vision for them?  Your donors want to be part of that story.

What Does it Mean to Tell a Bigger Story?

So often, non-profits get caught in the rut of celebrating minor successes.  We talk about helping 5% more people this year, or “increasing academic outcomes,” or feeding 800 more families this winter.

All of those are well and good, and can be used to support the bigger story of your non-profit, but they won’t inspire donors as much as if you talk to them about how you are educating the future leaders of our country, ending hunger in Cincinnati, or providing free medical care to every single family in Carson City that needs it.

Every non-profit has a bigger story to tell, if you will only allow yourself to tell it.  I once had an organization tell me they can’t cast a grand vision, because they “are only trying to maintain parks in our town.”  Sure, that’s the work they are doing, but what is the vision behind that work?

They are trying to provide safe, outdoor recreation for kids in a city where there are scant opportunities and few parks… they are keeping children healthy, happy, and active while making their community a better place to live.  They are providing space for families, friends, and events.  They are making their city stronger and healthier.  That’s a big vision… one that donors will want to invest in.

Your non-profit has a big vision for the future… you have an important story to tell.  Donors want to get caught up in that story.  Cast a big vision for your donors and prospects, then invite them to get involved and help make that vision a reality.

This week’s article was written by Joe Garecht. Joe is the President of Garecht Fundraising Associates, and the Editor of The Non-Profit Fundraising Digest.  He has almost twenty years’ experience in non-profit fundraising, and focuses his consulting work on helping small and mid-sized organizations build sustainable fundraising systems.