Those who toil in the nonprofit sector are some of the most sincerely motivated, hardworking folks I know. They are really committed to what they do and what they want to accomplish.
Your very passion can blind you however. You can begin to believe your own press releases.
Let’s say your organization is doing good work. You want to do good work. People in the communities you serve know you want to do good work. And you’ve had a degree of success.
Your supporters believe in your cause for various reasons. True, each of these beliefs fit within a larger umbrella—a general cause. Nevertheless, it’s the specific, on-the-ground, rationale that energizes your supporters.
The trap to avoid is to think local even if your passion is global.
It’s remembering that “hunger” is really about individual persons who aren’t getting enough to eat. “Ending global hunger”—what does that mean?
If you can’t make it individual to your supporters, you’re likely to be disappointed in the response.
Principle 2 of The Eight Principles™ is Begin at the Beginning™. The first step in any effort to secure philanthropic support is to couch your message in a way to appeal to those who share your vision. That means getting inside their head a bit and taking into account what you find there. Seriously.
I coach others—and continually remind myself—don’t fall victim to thinking it’s all about us.
Because it isn’t. No matter how noble our mission.