Fundraising is essential on a good day for most nonprofits. In a pandemic, it’s the equivalent of life support.
The reaction from board members and senior leaders to the economic downturn may be to ask for cash and to ask for it now. They might say, “Tell donors that we are in a cash crunch. Tell them about the cuts in funding and diminished revenue. Tell them we had layoffs. Tell them…”
The need for cash is real, but do not treat your donors like an ATM.
We have written before about appeal messaging. The lessons conveyed in that article still ring true today — a case for support should never be about a need for cash. The case for support should always be about meeting community need.
The best way to communicate impact in your appeals is to embed outcomes data into your case for support.
What does that mean?
It’s more than just output data, such as the number of meals served, number of people supported, or number of programs offered.
It’s the indicators that measure a change in behavior, skills, knowledge, attitude, status, or life condition of participants that occurs as a result of your organization’s work. In short, what data represents fulfillment of mission? And, what story does that data tell?
If your organization only tracks outputs and not outcomes, then begin the conversation today to make the shift.
- Meet with your program team and work collaboratively determine what should be measured, and why it matters.
- Work with experts in the field such as our colleagues at Measurement Resources Co. to help guide the process.
- Bring your development and marketing teams together to brainstorm how to incorporate the findings into messages.
- Give us a call. Our team would be happy to talk through your revised case for support or to help you begin writing a new case.
- Begin using the new language with donors and potential donors and assess what messages resonate most.
Having outcomes data that strengthens your case makes the ask more compelling. We examined what donors look for earlier this year, including making sure the appeal is about impact and not just a need for cash. Because when you do, your relationships and revenue will grow.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO