Imagine you’re meeting with a donor. The goal: inspire the donor to connect you to a particular mega prospect.
Could you – with a passion – share what you need and why?
Fundraising is the business of inspiring others to give – either their money or their connections – to allow you to fulfill your mission.
To do this well, you need to DEFINE A PROBLEM and then share a vision of WHAT WILL BE when you have those funds in solving that problem.
What does the world look like now? (For instance, these at-risk youth don’t have any guidance and support.)
What could the world look like if your organization were better-funded? (For instance, at-risk youth could have mentors who could help them get back on the derech.)
Your job is to share your vision – in as vivid a way as possible – what it will mean, when you get the funds you need, for the people your organization impacts each and every day.
You may be thinking – we need to cover a deficit!
How can we make that sound inspiring? Having a bank balance in deficit is real, but you need to reframe. For your donors, giving is not about dollars and cents. It’s about impact.
Focus on how the lives or experiences of those who you help will be different when you get the funds you need.
This reframed clarity of vision will energize you and those you share it with. And raising funds will be more simply an expression of your desire to achieve this clear vision.
Just as importantly, it will be an expression of your donor’s desire to achieve his clear vision of making the world a better place.
So let’s get practical. How do we translate ‘sharing your vision’ to actually getting the referral to big donors?
There are TWO STEPS to inspire action from others.
STEP ONE, I call the ‘Soft Share.’
This is where you share a vision to ‘plant a seed’ in the head (and heart) of the person you’re speaking with.
It might not be just one conversation that gets him ready to say yes to introducing you to his billionaire brother-in-law. You’ll have to judge the timing.
The ‘Soft Share’ is there to gauge reaction and see if there is something lacking in your pitch, before you actually ask him to help you with the referral.
“When we get a new six-figure donation this year, it will allow us to give vitally needed intervention for our boys. These boys, each one of them a different story, all have a background of major challenge. With needed intervention, these boys will flourish.
They will become connected and contributing members of the community.
Not only that. Their parents will regain their lives. And experience long overdue nachas from their sons. More than that, their siblings will get their parents back.
To make this a reality, alongside growing our present donor base, I need to get onboard a new six-figure donor this year.”
The next question is key to gauging his reaction to your pitch. Ask these four words.
“How does that sound?”
He may give you a straightforward answer. He may raise objections. But depending on his response, you may be ready for the next stage.
STEP TWO is the ‘Call to Action.’
If you are ready to take it to the next stage, the soft share needs to be followed with a ‘call to action.’
This asks something from the person you’re speaking with.
“Is there perhaps one person you can introduce me to, who could give us a six-figure gift to make this a reality?” or
“It looks like you are excited about what I’ve described. Could you help me make this a reality by making an intro for me to your brother-in-law?”
To get started it might be easier to speak it out, or write it out.
Find what works for you.
Share this pitch with anyone you’re close with who can give you feedback and confidence. As always, let me know how it goes.
B’hatzlacha raba raba,
—>P.S Planning an online campaign after Succos?
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Avraham Lewis is ‘The Fundraising Coach’ for busy Jewish leaders who want to raise much more.