Fundraising IS marketing and selling
Yet some fundraisers think it’s different from other forms of marketing and sales when it isn’t. Somehow the altruistic aspects of fundraising get in the way and muck up the process. I think this is precisely why so many organizations are just plain bad at raising money and retaining donor support.
Copywriting icon and expert fundraiser Tom Ahern wisely once stated on his blog:
“Your job, fundraiser, is to move me (your puzzled prospect) from my native, warm, pleasant, untroubled inertia into the bold, troubling act of making a gift of my hard-earned money on behalf of your mission. Fundraising is sales. Donors are customers. Embrace it. Ditch your delusions. Whatever.”
He was so right but here’s more proof
Seth Godin added his take on the subject in a post on his blog on November 29th, 2013. By the way, Seth Godin might be the most respected thought leader on subjects revolving around marketing. He’s written 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and translated into more than 35 languages. His blog is said to be the most popular marketing blog in the world. So what did he say?:
“Every time someone donates to a good cause, they are buying a story, a story that is worth more than the amount they donated.” Tweet This! He continued saying, “It might be the story that you, and you alone are able to make a difference, or perhaps it’s the story of using leverage to change the world. [Or, it might be] the story of what it means to be part of a community. Stories are the way we navigate our world, our chance to make sense of who we are and what we do.”
Seth has it right.
Fundraisers inspire transactions involving an exchange of money in return for something of value. Fundraisers sell stories. The story you are selling may reside solely in the heart and mind of the donor. But that’s fine. What matters is that a fair exchange of value took place. And, when an exchange for money takes place, like it or not, that is, in fact, marketing or selling.
Seth wrapped up his post saying:
“If people aren’t donating to your cause, it’s because you’re not telling a story, or telling the wrong story to the wrong people (in the wrong way). Non-profits make change, and the way they do this is by letting us tell ourselves stories that nurture our best selves.” Tweet This!
Wow! So by encouraging and enabling donors to tell their stories, we’re providing value that donors think is worth paying for— and pay they will. I promise!
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