15 Sep How to soar like an eagle AND get along with the turkeys
One of my most frustrating moments as a consultant came when I was working with programming staff, trying to collect some stories – stories that I needed in order to fundraise. I was working with excellent programming people: they were good at their jobs and dedicated to the mission of the organization. Wow – was it ever challenging to get stories “from the field!”
To understand people’s actions, you need to understand their perspectives.
- Programming staff: rewarded for executing programming, project focused, well connected with their volunteers and their community, action-oriented (at least the good ones!)
- Development staff: rewarded for getting personal, spending time with donors, telling compelling stories, and raising money by connecting emotionally with individuals.
Once you have built credibility with your programming people – take the time to get to know them as people before asking them to reach out to their community networks on your behalf – use this “reminder list” to avoid frustration.
1) Tell them what you need, take the time to explain why you need it, and how you are going to use it. (This also avoids them feeling like their networks have been “pimped-out”)
2) Make it easy for them. Include a checklist, or a template. So often if I provide people with an example, or a model of what I am looking for, they say “Oh is that all you want? I had no idea!”
3) Make it personal and go to the heart of the story yourself. Whenever possible, participate in the programming. Build your own networks with program recipients or call up the story on the phone to talk to them directly.
4) Celebrate their contributions. When your appeal is successful, be sure to loop back and THANK them for their help. Their story/connection/input made this gift possible.
Stories, emotions, and experiences are the intangibles. They don’t fit in a government grant outcomes chart, they have cell phone numbers that expire, and little messy bits that can’t be measured in quantitative metrics. But bar none, they are the very best examples of HOW your organization is making a difference…..to your donors.
Everyone thinks they’re a fundraiser. But you’re the one the organization hired to fundraise for them. Have the confidence to ask for what you need…in the way that will get you the results you want.