Lead with the Personal–follow with the rational

When approaching a perspective donor we are often eager to explain the mission of the organization we are representing the good work and community impact that it has.  Full of facts and figures and often armed with glossy folders and annual reports, we make our case.  Experience has shown, however, that such an approach is not the most effective.

Walk of LifeRemember that people give to people.  It’s not a “thing” it’s a “who.”  More directly, “who are you?” the solicitor.  Leading with a personal anecdote—one tied to your passion for the organization—will connect with the potential donor in a way that the “rational” case simply will not.  At least in the beginning.

It’s important to know your organization’s “story” and why investing in it is a good thing—for the donor and the nonprofit.  Explain the benefits and outcomes thoroughly, even passionately.  Don’t forget to first connect personally with your potential investor, however.

Principle 2 of  The Eight Principles of Sustainable Fundraising® is Begin at the Beginning™.  Begin to tell your story in a way that your investors and would-be investors will understand.  Letting them see you—the person will generate interest and attention that nothing else can.

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