I was a Journalism major.
Actually, that was a huge accident. I really wanted to be a Business Major. My dad was an entrepreneur. My mom was an entrepreneur. All three of my uncles were entrepreneurs. Heck! My grandparents were all entrepreneurs. But, I failed the first two prerequisite courses for the Business School at the University of Maryland. So, at 19 I was all washed up. No chance I’d own my own business (so I was told).
Anyway, that’s not the reason I’m writing today’s post. Rather, this article is about the confluence of journalism and fundraising.
What inspired me was an article written by my pal Roger Craver on his blog (The Agitator). In it he mentioned the research and analysis that had been conducted by the Engaging News Project that showed what kind of website designers were preferred by news readers. It ends up that they prefer modern, modular home pages more than traditional site layouts.
My take on this is unique since I wanted to be an entrepreneur early on but was forced to learn journalism instead. Then, later I created a business that helps fundraisers increase revenues at lower costs. I believe that all of these rivers are now joining one another.
The development of your engagement fundraising efforts probably should not be much different from the engagement-oriented efforts journalists put forth in order to communicate with their readers.
So here’s the takeaway from today’s article: You must tell stories to raise money. Journalists must tell stories too!
Stories move people. But only if they are told well.
In the case of Roger’s article, he learned from journalists that modular websites help readers find the stories they care about more easily. That is, in fact, good customer service. That shows that you, the fundraiser (or the journalist), care about how you tell your stories. If you test your layouts, designs and messages to improve upon the delivery of your stories, you show that you care about the donor.
I think many (or most) nonprofits can learn a ton from the news media about how to communicate better with supporters. It’s all there for the taking.
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