Match your offer with their marketing needs.
Fund raising is matchmaking, plain and simple. You have a marketing opportunity to offer, and somebody with money recognizes that good opportunity and will pay for it. So, communicating exactly what you have to offer, and sincerely listening to determine whether it’s truly what the prospect needs, is your first exciting challenge.
Generally the one seeking the funding is not the message maker. Your organization’s brand has usually been developed by others, and you are usually handed some messaging materials that remind you of your mission statement, the strategic goals at hand, a record of success in improving life for your constituency, and that sort of thing. Maybe you will review the most recent annual report. Perhaps you’ll have a pep talk from a marketing professional or a top executive.
It might well be that your brand is clear and recognizable and the message you are handed compelling. If that is the case, you’re in pretty good shape. Still, don’t take that for granted. A message is not truly “a message” until it has been successfully communicated to the receiver, so a key question for you is this: Will I be imparting a message that demonstrates the inherent value of my nonprofit?
You see, as a fund development rep, it doesn’t really matter how enthusiastic your members are if you can’t raise enthusiasm in the broader community. It doesn’t really matter how clear your brand is internally if it means nothing beyond your organization itself and its limited network. It doesn’t really matter how clear the development committee and executive team are about strategic goals and past accomplishments if you cannot communicate them to your constituents and the corporations you hope will support them. If you’re composing your own message, if would be wise to get feedback about its ability to clearly, concisely and compellingly communicate inherent value.
A good development professional or volunteer is constantly making little fixes for a better tomorrow, always taking steps to make the next campaign more successful and less labor-intensive. You’ll discover you’re strengthening your message as you go along. And you’ll be making notes for how the whole process might go more smoothly next time. Your goal is to have as clear a brand as possible and as strong a message as possible so you can demonstrate inherent worth to the best of your current ability as you approach prospects. Perfection is not required.
The next step in fine-tuning your messaging will be all about listening. We’ll cover that topic soon. In the meantime, if you would like to submit your own guest post to the Speakeasy, please email us at email@TamarackCommunication.com. Together we know more.