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A challenge for the fundraisers of the world…

Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Fundraisers have more competitors now than ever before.
Your competition is global. They are everywhere because the Internet has made it easy to become a competitor. Some work from their kitchen tables and others from corporate offices. Scary, isn’t it?
 
You are substitutable.
The growth in competition makes your organization exponentially more substitutable. Donors now have more information conveniently available at their fingertips. They can, therefore, learn about all the giving opportunities available to them with ease. They can compare and contrast them in minutes. They can ask their friends about them at lightning speed on social media or a text message.
 
But you are better than the competition, right?
You might try to convince yourself that your organization is different. You are better. You are unique. Or, you might say to yourself, “It’s all about the relationship.”
But, these days, the market is huge and the market forces are powerful. And they are growing.
Relationships aren’t what they were. You aren’t better than your competition. Don’t kid yourself because you have no idea what they are doing behind your back.
 
So what do you do?
What do you do if your offering is similar to another organization’s? Or dozens of others? You can’t just puff out your chest and proclaim that you’re better than the others. Donors are too smart for that!
Instead, you must stop being in the value communication business and you must get into the value creation business.
 
Value creation.
Creating value is easier said than done. Most fundraisers around the world are still value communicators. They believe their job is to show the donor how great their organization is ‑ and they are failing! They fail for two simple reasons:

  1. They don’t recognize that value is in the eye of the beholder. The donor decides the value, not the organization or the fundraiser!
  2. They don’t understand that value is about benefits and costs. The donor considers giving $10,000 or $50,000 (whatever amount) and they instantly begin to think about what they will get at that cost. Will they get notoriety? Will they get to live on in the minds of others? Will they get to feel like a hero in their own life story? Will they get to change something they want fixed in the world?

The potential value your supporters perceive they can attain from giving could be tremendous; It might even be incalculable. But the value could also be greatly diminished or entirely lost if they don’t perceive that they can get what they want.
 
You are the facilitator.
You are the one. You stand between them and your organization (and its beneficiaries). You can help facilitate the exchange of money for value. You can be the bridge. You can grease the skids. You can make it easy or make it hard. You can make it a pleasure or a chore. And all of that depends on your ability to create value.
 
My challenge to you.
So today, ask yourself this very simple question: Why on earth should a supporter write you a humongous check?
If you don’t have a good answer that creates value for the donor then you are nothing more than a walking, talking website. A brochure!
You need to be the kind of fundraiser that thinks about creating value for your donors day and night. You need to be obsessed with creating value. In fact, you need to provide so much value to each individual major donor or legacy society supporter that they trip over themselves to write a check. Then, they cry tears of joy and thank you profusely for giving them the opportunity to meet their own needs by making a difference.
 
Will you be that kind of fundraiser? I challenge you!
 

Related Posts:

>>What’s your fundraising asking style?
>>How to structure and staff your planned gift shop for the 21st century
 

2 responses to “A challenge for the fundraisers of the world…”

  1. Brent says:

    But what do you do when your director believes that companies will give just because art is a good cause. Any time I mention ROI or ask what our sponsors get for their money I am told that it doesn’t matter and this is how she has run the art center for the last 31 years.

    • Greg Warner says:

      Hmm. That’s a tough one Brent.
      If you have options in your town, you might consider searching for another employer. Always remember, you can fire her as much as she can fire you. Sounds like she is stubborn and lacking vision.
      Or, you can try my app at http://www.fundraisingreportcard.com to show her, visually, that the metrics aren’t inline with her philosophy.

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