Rule #4: Want to increase donations? Focus on the needs you meet, not the needs you have

Donors give to your cause not because you have needs, but because you meet needs.

Put another way, any individual involved in fundraising would do well to remember that – if you want to increase donations – it’s not about you and it’s not about how impressive your organisation is. Rather, it’s about helping the donor to see that their support will make the world a better place (even if it is in a small way).

The difference may seem subtle, but to experienced fundraisers, this rule is a key reminder of what donors really care about.

Every non-profit organisation has needs, but that is not news to a donor. Donors are going to be far more interested in the impact their support produces. Donors don’t care that deeply about impressive program features or statistics as much as they care about the real outcomes that are achieved.

It can be a frustrating reality check to realise that donors don’t give money because an organisation is impressive.

The most effective non-profit organisations produce communication content with giving propositions that describe how donor support can meet needs.

The temptation to present messages that are some version of “give us money because we are impressive” is a difficult one to resist.

This can be a tough rule for fundraisers, executive leaders and board members to follow.

For those who can focus on using this rule to produce better-crafted communication that captures greater interest from donors and prospects, the results tend to be more impressive.