Like you, I’m on the mailing list for many organizations. Some mail I always open and read. Some go right into the recycle bin or email trash.
But there’s a trend I see – mostly with smaller organizations. Messaging is segregated. There’s “we’re going to mention fundraising” mail. And there’s “don’t worry, we won’t ever talk about it” mail. I think that’s silly.
I want to urge them to stop thinking of fundraising as apart from the other things they do. Do you want your organization to succeed? Then integrate fundraising – relationship-building, communication and yes, even asks – into everything you do.
Invite them in
The people you’re communicating with want to be involved. So use every opportunity to tie your work to donors’ generosity. Don’t send event announcements or updates without offering an opportunity to help. That’s asking your readers to be passive onlookers. What you need are participants in making your mission come to life.
This isn’t a marketing vs. fundraising issue. You need to be strategic about all your communications. But you should always include your partners in meeting your mission goals. Integrating fundraising into organizational communication isn’t difficult. The toughest part is the mindset and the buy-in at the top that this matters.
So how do you do this?
- Help your program staff understand how to talk about their work, why it matters and what it costs.
- Make sure your marketing materials include ways to get involved. One-way communication is a waste of time. Give people ways to raise their hands and get involved.
- Hello, website? Ways to be involved, especially ways to give, should be front and center.
- Help leadership understand that fundraising is about relationship-building, not just money. Some people might be afraid that asking for a gift will turn people off. Help them understand how important it is to ask.
- Put gratitude in everything you say. Your ED or the development staff shouldn’t be the only ones to thank donors. Everyone at your organization should have a gratitude mindset. When you talk about an achievement, be sure you credit the people who make it possible. I don’t mean your staff, I mean your donors and your volunteers.
- Don’t be afraid to share the credit. It won’t make your organization seem less important. It will make you more important – to the people you need the most.
- And don’t be afraid to welcome help. That’s why our organizations exist, after all. The point is to connect donors (and volunteers) with causes they care about.