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Believe it or not, providing a good answer to that question is
extremely important to your fundraising success.
Ultimately, everyone's focus is on themselves. As the saying
goes, we're all starring in our own movie. You need to design
your campaign so that all the individual "movie stars" receive
feel-good roles, ones that bring out the best in everyone.
There has to be real value delivered along the way for your
fundraising efforts to elicit the desired response from your
supporters. A true value proposition needs to exist for your
volunteers and participants as well.
Your fundraising plan needs to clearly answer the question -
"What's in it for me?"
A good place to start is by crafting a concise statement of
the benefits that your fundraising campaign will deliver. This
is not a monetary amount or goal. It is the intended positive
result(s) that will be created by the funds raised.
For example, a PTA fundraiser needs to communicate what the
net proceeds will be spent on - teacher supplies, playground
equipment, etc. Your results will be dramatically higher than
just saying that you are doing a fundraiser without specifying
what the funds will be used for.
This statement of benefits is the first variation of answering
"what's in it for me?" because you have defined how your group
(and your community) will invest/benefit from the proceeds.
Next, you need to include that value statement into your group's
communications with potential supporters. Volunteers and other
members participating in your fundraiser need to understand this
As group members, the benefits resulting from the fundraiser are
one portion of the "what's in it for me?" for your participants.
In addition, there are often other individual benefits for those
actively involved in the fundraising effort - the satisfaction
of helping reach the goal (and the resulting benefits), as well
as possible incentive/prize programs.
Ultimately, the success of your fundraising efforts hinges on
getting the maximum level of "buy-in" from the maximum number
of supporters. Having your workforce - your volunteers and your
participants - understand what's in it for them will boost the
The reason is that their belief/understanding of what benefits
will result will come across more strongly to each potential
supporter. In addition, that stronger belief will motivate them
to approach additional prospects. So, you get better results
from the improved communication and increased effort.
Lastly, those supporters that you've carefully cultivated will
be more likely to contribute to your cause if they know clearly
"what's in it for me?"
It's a scientific fact that people most often act in their own
self-interest first and then consider the needs of others. That
is why society places a high value on such selfless acts as the
heroism of the firefighter or the courage of a soldier.
So, how can you appeal to the self-interest of a potential
- By defining precisely how their contribution will help
- By increasing the perceived value of what they give
- By increasing the perceived value of what they receive
Your fundraising participants need to communicate to each
prospect the exact nature of the community benefit. To use
the PTA example, a potential supporter should immediately be
informed of the amount of school supplies their funds will
provide. If it's new playground equipment, mention the cost
of a specific item.
Add value to their perception of the impact of their own
donation by linking it to the attainment of a sub-goal. If it's
new playground equipment, mention the rough cost of a specific
item and link it to their contribution.
An example is stating that a $10 contribution purchases a new
basketball. The supporter sees a visual image in their minds'
eye of the result of their contribution. That image has the
effect of associating a donation with a pleasurable feeling,
making it much more likely that the prospect will support your
Besides increasing the perceived value of what they give, you
also want to increase the perceived value of what they receive.
You do that in different ways for different fundraisers - donor
recognition items for contributions, more attractive packaging
on items being sold for a profit, or making your charity
auction a black-tie event.
Each of these approachs increases the perceived value without
significantly increasing the cost. That means that each of your
supporters will assign more value to what you are offering. That
translates into increased funding for your organization.
So, what's it all mean? Just this. In planning your next
fundraiser, be sure everyone knows how to explain your group's
efforts in terms of the other person's "what's in it for me?"
Copyright 2002 - Kimberly Reynolds Soccer
About The Author: Kimberly Reynolds is
the author of Fundraising Success, a best
selling ebook on fundraising. You can read more of
ideas for fundraisers on her website, FundraiserHelp.com.
You may reprint this article as long as this resource box accompanies the article.
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