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Two things you have to do with every fundraiser:
1) Increase community awareness of your need
2) Increase community awareness of your offering
Everybody reading this instantly thinks, "Yeah, we've got that
covered. Everybody in our group knows what we're doing."
Let's take a closer look and see, shall we?
1) Can it be expressed in a single sentence?
2) Has everyone in your group memorized that sentence?
3) Is expressing it a part of your approach to all supporters?
Test your group from top to bottom. Randomly ask individuals
to tell you why your group is raising money.
I absolutely guarantee you that you will be surprised at the
answers. In many groups, more than 50% of those involved with
the fundraiser will not be able to tell you in a single sentence
the specific reasons why they are raising money.
What about outside your group? Can you honestly say that you've
exhausted every approach in getting the word out to the community
about your fundraiser? Does everybody know why you need money?
Have you done each of these?
- Press release
- Roadside signs
- Newspaper coverage
- Public service radio announcements
- Pre-kickoff letter, postcard, or email campaigns
Or are you assuming that all you have to do is tell someone that
you're doing a fundraiser and that they'll be glad to help?
Two problems with that approach. One is that most of your group
can't effectively communicate your need.
The second is that you are already assuming that your group has
more than enough prospective supporters to meet your goal. Both
these problems limit your potential results.
Consider these three points:
If your need isn't communicated clearly and concisely, it will
not be understood and internalized as a deserving cause by your
If your sellers don't really understand your group's need, then
they won't push as hard to meet that need.
If your need isn't general knowledge in your community, then
your fundraising job will be that much harder.
Think of "getting the word out" as being similar to softening up
the beachhead during the Normandy invasion. If you don't do the
advance prep work, you're much more likely to meet a hostile
The second fundraising fundamental goes hand-in-hand with
creating an awareness of your need. Creating an awareness of
your offering is just as important as telling people why your
group needs money.
The need and the offering should be closely linked in all
communications. At the same time you are getting the word out,
you need to make sure the message gets through on exactly what
your group is doing to raise funds.
Just as with expressing your need, everyone in your group should
be able to sum up your offering in a single sentence. That
sentence should also reinforce the emotional foundation that is
derived from recognition of your need.
So what in the heck does all that mean?
Put simply, if someone believes your need is real and agrees
with the value proposition of your offering, they will help you.
And what's your value proposition?
It's a summation of your offering, combined with a reminder of
your need, that's expressed in a way that reminds the prospective
supporter of what's in it for them.
In other words, your prospect needs to:
1) Be aware of your need
2) Be linked to it on an emotional level
2) Be in agreement that your offer has real value for them
Getting your need and your offering across to as many potential
supporters as possible is the essence of fundraising. Take the
time to develop single sentence statements for your fundraiser
summarizing both of these fundamental points.
Teach everyone in your group how to communicate these basic
value statements when they talk to prospective supporters and
your fundraiser will be a smashing success.
Copyright 2002 - Kimberly Reynolds
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