Investing in Being Wrong
When we reach out to prospective donors to our charitable cause we want to demonstrate that we’re trustworthy, focused and achieving real impact in the community. That’s as it should be.
The important thing to remember is that no one is right all the time. Even us. We will invariably make mistakes and encounter instances where we stand being wrong. Some will be big ones; programs and initiatives that didn’t work well—or even failed outright; fundraising efforts that weren’t as successful as we would have liked. Then there are the “small ones”; misspelling a donor’s name or forgetting to properly acknowledge their gift. These are personal to the particular donor but mistakes just the same.
How do you handle these? Do you bury or ignore them hoping no one will notice? Do you fire those responsible or who didn’t “make goal” this year? Do you do what so many nonprofits do and simply attempt to avoid all risk in the hopes of avoiding mistakes?
None of these are viable options—that is if you want to continue to build trust with your supporters.
The unique fundraising idea is to freely and openly admit your mistakes—frequently. accept it being wrong. Own them. Say them out loud.
What does this do? It shows your respect for your investors and gives you the ability to continue making promises going forward. It’s one of those ironies of life.
Principle 7 of The Eight Principles™ is Renew & Refresh™. Your best bet to renew your current donors is to tell them where you went wrong and also tell them what you’re going to do to fix it.