How nonprofit organizations can provide more value to generate more revenue in 5 simple steps.
I proclaimed that donors are not disappearing. Rather, our sector’s fundraising practices are driving donors to avoid our communications because most nonprofits fail to understand and provide value. Instead, too many listen to vendors, suppliers, and so-called experts in the field who are driven by their own self-interests— leading the sector to march further downward on the declivity.
If only fundraisers would turn their focus away from junk mail, spam and events for just 30 minutes, they could engineer their value propositions and raise more money more effortlessly.
Today I’ll show you that value creation isn’t complex. Anyone can do it.
A couple of years ago, I provided this checklist for providing value to donors. But that wasn’t enough.
Later I wrote this post which included links to other posts about value. But that wasn’t enough either.
Do this so your donors get more value out of their relationships with you and your organization’s mission:
- FIND SOLITUDE: Sit in a quiet room with a blank sheet of paper or a whiteboard. NOTE: Do this alone. Do not collaborate with others. I promise you, that won’t work; not at this stage of the value-creation process. You need to think! Not collaborate.
- WRITE: Write down in a stream of consciousness how you currently provide value to your hi-value supporters. DO NOT include how you provide value to your low-dollar supporters! Not yet! Not now! Start with the wealthier, major donors — the 10% or 20% that make up at least 80% of your organization’s donation dollars. They deserve the most consideration. This is not socialism or populism. Every supporter is not equal. Your value must first and foremost focus on your core support group. Think and write down what makes your best, most philanthropic supporters feel good. What makes them want to engage and give more?
- CREATE: As you make this list you’ll start to realize that you could be doing more (probably at fairly low cost). You could add more value to what you are already doing and new ideas will emerge. You could make your hi-value supporters feel good more often. You could remove ‘friction’ from the giving process to make it more convenient and enjoyable. You could fill their hearts with joy and pride in ways that far surpass any cup of coffee from Starbucks, any movie from Netflix and any order from Amazon. So write these new ideas down.
- TEST ‘EM: Now try them out. You probably don’t need to get permission for most of them. Suppose you help feed the poor and your program staff sent you a wonderful picture of a young girl getting food thanks to your donors’ gifts. Write a short story (just a few sentences) and include the picture of the girl in a message to your hi-value supporters. Or, for other supporters, you might simply offer content. Try a workbook to help them think about how they can find meaning in their lives (not only through giving). Or maybe a report on how giving appreciated assets might benefit them. Just remember, value is seen differently by each supporter. Make sure the value you provide is in concert with each donor’s interests and where they reside in the consideration process. Don’t ask for more money. Just give! Help them feel good! PROVIDE VALUE! Then, see what happens with those supporters over time.
- OPERATIONALIZE ‘EM: After you test the list you created you’ll begin to realize what works (and what doesn’t). Your supporters will tell you what made them accept your outreach, what made them agree to meet with you and made them want to give. Listen. But if they don’t do that, ask them yourself. They’ll tell you all you need to know about what works and what doesn’t. Stop listening to the so-called experts at the next conference. Listen to your supporters instead! Then, operationalize what you’ve learned. In other words, help others in your organization do what you’ve been doing. That could create economies of scale that lower costs as all of you deliver more value more cost-efficiently.
So there you have it!
Beware of the charlatans spewing misinformation and falsehoods in the echo-chambers of fundraising ignorance. Instead, just take the 5 steps prescribed above. If you do, I promise, you’ll raise more money at lower cost.