What to say (and not say) when asking for donations

There is an art to asking for a donation. I am not talking just about intuition and creativity. To become a great artist, you have to spend years learning and perfecting your craft, and it doesn’t come easy. You have to fail countless times until you get it right. You are constantly looking for what techniques, styles, compositions compliment one another.

Most importantly, you must search for your authentic style.

The same applies to the ask in fundraising. If you don’t take the time to learn the craft, you won’t get the results that you want. You will struggle to raise funds, and you won’t find your authentic voice.

How to Ask for Gifts and Get Donations

What more could be said about engaging with prospects and donors? We all know what it comes down to. We all know that the ask is the biggest, scariest, and most important, the one action that can change our Catholic mission in an instant.

While hesitant about how to properly ask for a gift, Catholic leaders and fundraisers consider communicating with prospects and donors as super important. However, strangely enough, they shy away from developing any deep conversations. They instead hide away and ask only when desperation kicks in. Even after they’ve asked, they rarely follow up and obtain a definitive answer.

They would rather play scenarios in their heads. “Why have they not responded to my request?” “When will they get back to me?” “What do I do now?”

How to ask for gifts

It’s the cycle of doom that will leave with you raising nothing.

Why no one is giving and never will give to you

They do this only because they sabotage themselves when it comes to authentically communicating with people. The most stubborn Catholic charities avoid altogether authentic conversations and engage in dialogue only when it comes time to ask for money.

And if they do overcome these hurdles, it’s because the donor is the one who’s seeking them out.

It stands to reason that authentic communication with people is the one topic that should require the least explanation. Yet this article ends up being the longest because although fundraisers, board members, and leaders think they understand communicating, they obviously do not. If they did, Catholics would be lining up to make donations to them.

For now, unfortunately, the majority of Catholic charities and apostolates still have not realized the single need to communicate in an authentically Catholic voice, allowing them to attract more attention, find more prospects, gain more donors, and raise more funds.

[Tweet “Catholic charities have not realized the need to communicate in an authentically Catholic voice”]

Think about why Catholics donate:
to give back,
to make an impact,
to connect,
and to catch up on a cause they know and care about.

In the process, donors find out what other Catholics are doing; what causes they are championing; what ideas they’re hatching; and where they’re going. Catholics want to see change happening and the Kingdom of God at work. Which means you better communicate messages that are relevant, engaging, and useful.

The roadblock is you’re asking as if you’re in 1985, not 2017

Now, if it were that easy, this would be a short post. Hire better copywriters and share better messages, and you’d be good to go. The problem is that three forces have made it more difficult for even the most talented storyteller to deliver authentic messages to Catholics. These are (1) the number of Catholics, (2) the evolution of the Catholic laity, and (3) charities’ responses to these changes.

The very reason that fundraisers want to have a presence in the Catholic Church – the sheer number of Catholics – makes running a campaign an immense challenge. Over a billion members (70 million in the USA and even more in Europe) worldwide, all the campaign material causes a conundrum. With thousands of requests streaming into parishes and competing for attention, it’s unlikely Catholics read or listen to each request, even if it is incredibly compelling and authentic.

This brings us to our next issue: the evolution of the laity. Since the Second Vatican Council, we’ve seen an increase in the laity’s involvement in the Church, particularly with donations. Yet Catholics are human. We have a limited span of attention. We lose focus quickly. Our personal tastes change. We move from city to city, state to state, even country to country. We get married, have kids, and change jobs. So we are not always connected with what is happening in the Church.

The old-fashioned fundraising approach to getting people’s attention by letters and pulpit appeals are long gone. Catholics toss letters in the trash, and they zone out after Mass when the appeal occurs.

[Tweet “The old-fashioned fundraising approach to getting people’s attention are long gone.”]

More than likely the majority of Catholics in a certain geographic location are completely unfamiliar with the local Catholic charities. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s because they are new to the area, focused on their job and family, and already committed to overflowing responsibilities already in front of them. Adding anything else to the plate seems ludicrous.

Catholic charities know that times have changed. They understand that people’s lives change, though the demographics they target and their methods of targeting them have not. Why do most not change? The answer is clear. They are more committed to their ineffective methods of fundraising than they are to their mission. As a result, the result is their mission is suffering. The people they assist and care for are also suffering.

The solution is to generously share authentic stories with Catholics

That is why it has never been more important to produce quality and authentic streams of communications that Catholics want to interact with – a charity’s future visibility depends on its donor and prospect engagement levels.

Unfortunately, the engagement that fundraisers most want to see is not the same as those of Catholics. Fundraisers want Catholics to respond to their requests. That is why they put so many out there. What they don’t realize, however, is that Catholics respond to a voice that echoes that of a Catholic – what a novelty, right?

[Tweet “Catholics respond to a voice that echoes that of a Catholic”]

How then are we supposed to communicate in an authentic Catholic voice that gets people to donate? By staying vigilant. By accepting that you have to interact with Catholics every day in your authentic voice. And by getting to know your community like your own family.

How do you do that? You tell them stories they want to hear. You give openly and generously.

I wrote a more detailed article on how to to do this which you can access here.

What are three ways you can communicate more authentic stories with Catholics in your community?

How to write a clear and compelling fundraising letter

I have learned that writing is a critical part of fundraising. Not only must you write messages that speak to people’s hearts but, your messages must also be written clearly and concisely so they are compelled to donate. Therefore, your next fundraising letter must capture people’s eyes, hearts, AND minds.

Write

When I read the case for support, an appeal letter, or even a thank you note from Catholic causes, I sometimes wonder how effective they are in raising money. I find grammar errors, typos, unclear messages, and poorly formatted templates. They also share their story through blurred photos.

I have even received emails with attachments that are 5MB or more in size, thereby clogging my inbox. I wonder if fundraisers know that some email services block emails altogether when they surpass a certain size. Also, an email can be moved directly to the junk box because the content has too many photos. Yes, too many pictures in emails can flag them as junk or spam. As a result, not everyone will receive the email.

What is sometimes more disheartening are those letters and emails that look too professional but have forgotten the most important part: the Catholic faith! Some Catholic entities pay fundraising consultants, and pay them quite well, to write and send content to the laity. This is unfortunate because consultants apply the generic rules and formulas they use for their nonprofit clients, overlooking the underlying purpose we all respond to charities. We don’t respond to appeals because someone is helping the poor, the hungry, or the sick. No. We respond because someone is doings these acts in the name of Christ and His Church.

These mistakes have negative consequences because many donors and potential supporters base their decisions on what they read. When people become distracted by the mistakes, they spend less time on discerning a donation.

The content you write may even be the only form of contact they have with your charity or enterprise. You are doing incredible work, and the donations you receive are helping you do even more. However, if people are not learning about you because of poor communications, how will you raise more funds and increase the number of donors?

I am not saying all of this to point the finger. I am in the front of the line when it comes to making mistakes. I have committed every grammatical error under the sun. But along the way, I’ve learned to improve my writing skills which, as a result, improved my fundraising results.

Writing well is paramount to fundraising. Here are four tips to writing better when speaking to people about your charitable work and asking for donations.

1- Use a beautiful template when you write

Catholicism has a rich history of art, beauty, and orthography. I am reminded of the manuscripts monks made in past centuries. The hours they spent transcribing Scripture onto their beautiful illuminated manuscripts. I am also amazed by the stained glass windows that tell the Gospel stories and the lives of the saints. If Catholics in past centuries (and even today) can spend days, months, and even years crafting these works of art, we can take a few hours designing a template that reflects our Catholic charities’ missions.

I understand that our schedules don’t always permit us to spend large portions of time for designing, but technology has provided us several shortcuts to produce great results in a fraction of the time. Software, such as Adobe Illustrator and Canva, offers easy to use templates which we can adapt to our needs.

To make this task even easier, I recommend collecting five examples of documents, brochures, adverts, or bulletins which have attracted your attention. These may come from any journals, magazines, websites, or advertisements. Examine why you like them so much. Then, design a new template by combining all the elements you liked most. You will then have an original design for your fundraising letter that looks unique and fantastic.

Last, I suggest picking up a copy of Desktop Publisher’s Idea Book for about one penny on Amazon. The book offers many examples of how to format different document types such as flyers, web pages, letters, and booklets.

2 – Have one message for each piece of communication

I recommend that each fundraising letter that you send to people conveys one message or idea. This message (whether it’s to donate, attend an event, pray, or volunteer) should also be summarized into two to three sentences. Every other sentence should then support this central idea.

I say this because people’s reading habits (especially for fundraising documents) are quite short. People tend to skim read a page in less than 5 seconds, scanning only for the key points, and then make a decision.

When reading your material, you don’t want people thinking, “This is way too long and complicated. I cannot read this now. I’ll put it to the side and read later.” If they decide to read your letter later, 90% of the time they won’t return. This is a lost opportunity for you because they were about to read what you had to tell them!

You may lament this fact, particularly with how the internet is reducing our ability to focus on a topic for extended periods of time, but it is the reality. If someone does not immediately understand what you are asking them to do, instead, they will do nothing.

Therefore, keep your message as clear as possible and remove any unnecessary content. By doing so, you increase the chances of your reader or listener to act.

To help make your material easier to read, I suggest that you limit the number of adjectives and compound sentences. Paragraphs and sentences should be short, particularly if you are writing an email or text on your website.

Also, because people read the first and last paragraphs of a letter or page primarily, have a strong first paragraph and a last impactful paragraph.

I wrote an article listing 100 recommended phrases to use when you write a fundraising message. You can also download a workbook on Scripture passages which you can use in your next letter or speech.

If you must provide additional information, causing your text to be lengthy, I recommend adding an addendum or a hyperlink. You can also include the additional text as a separate document.

Clarity is what you want, not confusion.

Last, ask others to proofread your document before you send it. You can also use grammar software like Grammarly to edit your text. I have sent too many times a letter with spelling errors to hundreds of people. What a horrible feeling. Now, I always have someone proofread my documents before I send them. I also never send or publish a text the same day I finish writing it. Instead, I review it one last time the next day.

3 – Avoid scare tactics

Many charities in a fundraising letter focus on a problem and structure their appeal along the lines of, ‘donate now… or else people starve/die!’

As Catholics, we know that worry and stress are not gifts of the Holy Spirit. We may be distraught, but God is calling us to respond to challenges with wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

Therefore, when you write, be positive, hopeful, and motivational. I recommend you share stories of how you are transforming the world. Then, when you do ask for donations, ask people to help keep the momentum. People are more inspired to donate when they hear great things are being accomplished.

People donate to great charities; not mediocre ones. Be a great one by communicating great stories in great ways.

4 – The four parts to a compelling fundraising letter

I recommend writing letters, emails, pamphlets, and speeches in a simple four-step structure.

Part 1 – Have one message in your fundraising letter which you wish to share with your audience. Make this subject you focus on throughout your content.

Part 2 – Facts provide the context around your message, allowing you to expand on it in greater length. For example, if your core message is that you have an event coming up, the detail facts could be the specifics of the event.

Part 3 – Create a desire. You must understand what your audience wants from you. Do you know why they are listening to you? What factors cause them to respond? By identifying their interests, you can present your message with the appropriate desire.

For example, if you wish that people attend your upcoming event, you can communicate the reasons for why they would attend. Are they more interested in the venue, the speaker, the other people attending, the time of year?

You may assume that people want to attend an event because of a particular venue, food, or keynote speaker but this is not always the case. By knowing what triggers people to want to come to my events, I have been able to attract many people. Additionally, I have been able to keep my costs significantly low because I know expensive dinners often do not attract people I am inviting.

Part 4 – Clearly verbalize your call to action three times. You must clearly state what it is you wish them to do. Remember, you are addressing your audience because you want them to do something. Don’t assume that people know what you are asking them to do. You have to tell them directly and make clear how they go about doing it.

Continuing with the same example of an event, you must explain (1) an invitation is being made and (2) the details for how people can confirm their attendance are clearly given. And (3), if they have questions, you should outline how they can ask for further details.

Conclusion

Remember, we are always students even after doing something for years. Writing a fundraising letter is an art form that can be adapted, shaped, and improved. I recommend to frequently reread prior communications and ask the question: how could I have been clearer?

There are hundreds of Catholic charities competing for donations, and many secular charities are also asking for money. Therefore, being heard in a noisy world requires effective writing.

Question: What steps do you take to write an inspiring fundraising letter?

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Misconceptions about Online Fundraising

When I began to fundraise, I would run from event to event trying to recruit new donors and raise funds. As you can imagine, this strategy is tiresome after a while. Soon, I no longer had nights and some weekends to myself because those precious moments are also when most people are available to meet with me. Was I following misconceptions that really didn’t work?

I quickly felt drained and unmotivated by my work. Even my friends and family were feeling the stress because either I wasn’t with them or when I was, I was too tired to be fully present. Something had to change.

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I looked into different ways of attracting donors that didn’t require me, or my team, running around. I wanted to find a way where we could meet people, find donors, reach our fundraising goal, stay focused on our work, and, most importantly, enjoy time with family and friends. My research led me to look at the benefits of using more efficiently the internet and social media for attracting donors.

The Power of the Web

I discovered that with a few adjustments, I could attract more people to a website and social media than I had been by meeting people at their parishes or community centers. I thought this was a breakthrough because, among all those people connecting with us online, there were bound to be new donors.

Now, I had to answer the next big question: how do I get them to donate?

Like most organizations do, I placed prominently the donate button on my homepage for everyone to see and waited patiently for the donations to roll in. As more and more people visited my site each month, I thought the donations would be pour in eventually. This unfortunately never happened. I learned that an increase in website traffic and social media engagement doesn’t result in more donations.

At first, I was worried that I would have to return to the old way of fundraising, running from one event to another. I didn’t want to go back to that lifestyle, so I did some more research.

I found Pope Pius VI’s Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelisation in the Modern World’ words inspiring:

“The Church would feel guilty before the Lord if she did not utilize these powerful means [mass media and means of social communication] that human skill is daily rendering more perfect. It is through them that she proclaims from the housetops.”

Pope Paul VI wrote this in 1976, just at the start of the technology boom. He inspired me to dig deeper. I had a hunch that he was right. I just had to keep going, and, after a little more trial and error, I found the answer. It was a eureka moment. I had been making false assumptions about how the internet works.

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Yes, people did engage with my online content because they were interested in what I do; however, they were not (at least not yet) ready to donate. I learned four misconceptions about the internet which have helped me use it more effectively in getting donations.

Misconceptions about Online Fundraising

Here are four misconceptions I learned about the internet and fundraising:

[Tweet “A resourceful article about the 4 misconceptions about online giving to help you increase donations.”]

Misconception 1: Just because you have a donate button doesn’t mean people will give.

In reality, you will be lucky if 1%-3% of the people who visit your website will give. People don’t browse your pages looking to give. Rather, they want to learn about your work and how to get involved. They want to connect with you, not give you money.

Therefore, if you focus on engagement, offering them ways to physically get involved, rather than financially, you can, later on, ask for a donation.

Misconception 2: The internet is impersonal and not useful in building relationships.

With how technology has evolved in recent years, the internet has become even more personal. With social media and web applications, you can connect directly with people, regardless of their location or numbers. Some applications even allow you to chat instantly through your website.

By leveraging technology like you would a phone or video camera, you can directly communication with someone, offering them what they really want, a relationship with you and your work.

Misconception 3: I don’t have time for the internet and websites. I have to focus on my work.

Your job involves connecting with people, sharing your message, inspiring them to help you, and transforming lives. The internet helps you do this on a much larger scale because it is available to anyone and everyone, 24/7 wherever there is a connection.

Also, the days of expensive and laborious web design are long gone. Today, a website can be developed and maintained with minimal cost and effort. Also, connecting with people online is less expensive than depending on events, phone calls, and mailings.

Misconception 4: The internet and social media are just not for me.

The internet offers you the ability to connect with over one billion people. Would it not be prudent to assume that among this vast number there are Catholics who would be interested in you and your work? With a little bit of work to set up your online presence, you can connect with all of these people.

Embracing the change which the internet brings expands our capacity to reach more people. Check out the article I wrote on why changing the way you fundraise is important.

[Tweet “Would it not be prudent to connect your Catholic organization with the billion people surfing the web?”]

How to actually raise funds using the internet

After learning these four misconceptions, the next question was: If I can attract lots of people to my work through the web, how can I get them to give eventually?

I turned my attention to improving the two things a website does well: instigating a connection with lots of people and then allowing me the opportunity to build a relationship with them. With the help of website applications and social media platforms, I turned my online presence into a portal of interaction. Instead of asking people to donate, I invited them to my events, asked them to volunteer, and gave them free resources so they can get involved.

If you are a parish, diocese or religious order, check out my previous article on the 5 simple steps you can take to improve your website. It offers practical and concrete recommendations for getting started.

Therefore, instead of running around meeting people, the internet was finding them for me and getting to me where I was. I no longer had to run from one event to another. Instead, I could meet people face to face, build a relationship, and then ask for donations. This was the biggest lesson I learned. People were only ready to donate to me after having met me in person or built a level of trust in what I do.

[Tweet “I found this article helpful. Learn how to actually raise funds using the internet.”]

As I met more people passionate about my work, their trust in what I do picked up as did donations. This was fantastic because in trying to fix one problem, I also improved other elements of my organization. All my events were fully booked. I had an army of volunteers. Most importantly, I and my team were not running around anymore because people were coming to where we were.8

Next steps – changing how we connect with people

I’ve been perfecting how to leverage the internet to attract donors for a while now. The other day I was reviewing the website statistics for a charity I help. Last year they had difficulty filling up their biggest event of the year. It’s the hallmark event that, if goes well, increases their visibility to a lot of people, especially large grant makers, key influencers in their work, and major donors. So, they wanted to make sure everything went smoothly.

For the past year, we had been building their online presence. As a result, the event was fully booked a month in advance and had a substantial waiting list. Also, because we were not worried about getting enough people to attend, we then focused on using real-time video to broadcast the event live via social media. Now, an event that had been planned to have 200 people attend will be seen by thousands. We were bound to make this the most successful event possible, planting as many seeds as possible for future donations.

The bottom line is this: You can either continue running from event to event to meet people where they are, eating up your personal time (sometimes on Sunday when you should actually enjoy the Sabbath with friends and family), as you look for donors, or you can embrace the opportunities the internet provides. You may think that the web means instant donations without meeting people. It doesn’t. Increasing your donors and donations still come from meeting people, connecting with them, and asking them to be part of your future.

Though the real difference is this. Instead of chasing people for donations, people will find you and want to donate. It’s here where the magic happens, so be prepared to welcome many more people on your journey.

If you have questions about improving your web and social presence, send me an email and let’s get you moving forward today.

Discussion Question: What misconceptions do you have about the internet? In what way could this be a sign for you to leverage the web more?

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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Showing Your Value Increases Donations

7 fruitful ways to increase donations

Take a moment to reflect on this question: “Why do people donate to me?” Then, consider how incredible it is to have your donors support you.

You are inspired by Christ to pick up your cross and follow him, and others are encouraged to help you do so. Whether you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the poor or help the sick, you transform the world through your work, and people are inspired to help you keep going.

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When it comes to fundraising, you can quickly hit a wall. You confront the reality, “how do I get people [or more people] to support me and my organization financially?” You know how important your work is, but you sometimes struggle to find donors and ask them for financial assistance.

I’ve been in this situation before. To find a way out, I would pray that someone would donate! Most often, unfortunately, people didn’t respond to my appeals. Nor did they want to learn more about what I was doing. It was a disheartening situation to find myself in, alone on an island. I was doing great work, yet I couldn’t find enough people to keep my momentum. I asked, “What else could I do?”

Thank goodness those days are behind me. After testing many methods, I’ve discovered seven actions that you can do to get people to donate. But before I explain what these seven actions are, I what to share with you what I’ve learned about why people do and do not give.

Why people don’t give

I’ve learned that people, on average, don’t respond to appeals and requests. Just take a look at the success rates of any charitable campaign. The number of no’s always exceeds the yes’s. Direct mail, in particular, usually only has a 2% success rate, while a campaign appeal at a Mass will often achieve 25%. These fundraising tactics are losing their effectiveness year after year because people are tired of these interruptions (especially during Mass!).

Second, sharing the Catholic faith does not mean someone will give to you. Remember, Catholics support a range of causes. One Catholic might donate to overseas work but not to a local refugee center. That’s okay because we all have different passions for different kinds of work. So don’t get upset if someone doesn’t give to you. It’s not personal. You just haven’t connected with someone who will.

In conclusion, people don’t give because they either don’t know what your organization does, or they don’t have an affinity for your kind of work.

Why people do give

People give because they have connected with you and your organization’s mission. Your story becomes their story. This happens because they have an affinity for your work. They are interested in knowing what you do, how you do it and what impact it has on the world.

People reach this level of engagement when you develop relationships, not donations. In conclusion, you look for individuals who are passionate about your cause and can relate.

[Tweet “People give because they have connected with you and your Catholic charity’s mission.”]

As a fundraiser, therefore, one of your key duties is to communicate the value of your mission and keep an eye out for people who connects with it. Successful fundraising happens when people recognise the importance of your mission. Once you’ve built a valued relationship, donations will start coming in.

The 7 ways to increase donations

Creating value through interaction is far more important than asking someone to donate in 30 seconds. Here lies the opportunity. By presenting your value, rather than the ask, you inspire the person to donate even without directly asking them to give.

Your goal is to share this value with everyone. You can do so by the following seven steps.

Show that your organization is…

1. A Valuable of Source of Information –

Become the number one source for information on your kind of mission work. Whether you work with the physically challenged or shelter the homeless, offer everyone who comes into contact with you relevant, frequent and resourceful information on your organization’s activities. By doing so, people will recognize your organization as one that consistently offers great resources on subjects that matter most to them.

Remember, it’s not just about your work. It’s also about sharing what you do. Offer short guides, training booklets, fact sheets on key topics that can be read quickly and passed around to friends and family. Provide accessible information that keeps everyone engaged with you.

I wrote a post about how to communicate to people when fundraising which you may find useful.

2. A Valuable Source for References –

Similar to a library, reference what is happening in your field of work. If people see you as the number one source for knowing what is happening, they will keep coming back to you. Therefore, always direct them to useful material, even if it’s not your own.

Your focus is to increase people’s knowledge and interest in your work. You do so by referencing everything that is of value to them, including other organizations’ websites, books, seminars, conferences, speakers, and podcasts, etc. People will keep coming back to you because you are the central hub for what is happening. They like you because you connect the dots for them. And when people spend more time with your organization, the higher the probability they will donate to you.

3. A Valuable Source for News –

Many times, I have to go to multiple sites to learn what is happening in the news about a certain topic. It’s tiring. Find many organizations work in the same space, yet few provide the overarching update that helps me make sense of it all.

With all the activities you’re involved with, I am sure that there are regular news stories, prayer groups and meetings, events, campaigns, and conferences. Could you be the primary source for connecting all of this news and share it with people? The organization that becomes the news hub will be the same one that attracts the most donors.

4. A Valuable Connector of People –

Don’t let you or your team stay enclosed in your office, focusing solely on what you have to get done. Instead, reach out and consistently connect with others. Also, be the connector for individuals and groups in your area of work. I recommend that you and your team know every key person in your field. Become the key influencers.

As a result, people will engage with you because you seem to be (and are!) at the center of everything. All roads pass through you.

More so, you are happy to make introductions for people. You don’t keep contacts a secret or control relationships. Rather, you freely share who you know. Today, it’s only a matter of time when someone connects with another person. You might as well make it easier and speed up the process. Remember, we are made to connect with one another. We are not made to have a list of contacts in our phones which we guard for ourselves. Instead, share your contacts.

By helping others connect, they will stay in touch with you and share their contacts. As a result, the number of people engaging with you will increase, and therefore your number of donors will increase, too.

Show how your organization demonstrates…

5. The Value of Being Non-Judgemental –

Provide a safe space to dialogue about issues. If we cannot talk about the issues, how can we reach conclusions?

Too many people are quick to reject others for their opposing views, thereby shutting down dialogue. You, however, do not point the finger. This can be hard to do because of emotions, misconceptions, assumptions and personal preferences and issues.

Often, people disagree with one another because each cannot express their ideas clearly and persuasively. Be different. Take time to know the other person’s viewpoint, while presenting yours with clarity. Also, offer people the space to interact with you and the opportunity to discover more about your viewpoint. You’ll find that you can turn doubters into donors.

6. The Value of Trust and Reliability –

If you can complete the first five points, people will trust your organization and regard it as one they can rely on.

To reach this level, your team should be informed, committed and trustworthy. By doing so, many doors will open to you. This is when people start knocking to  ask, “How can I donate?”

Unfortunately, only a few Catholic organizations can claim to fulfill this category. This, however, is where the opportunity lies. Any group or person can leverage the current landscape and attract the trust of Catholics. Enjoy, because the road is open!

7. The Value of Passion –

Passion is your ultimate differentiator that will attract many donors. How many people commit themselves with such zeal that they show up every day, no matter what? There is tremendous value in being disciplined and showing up when others don’t.

You don’t have to be the best. You just have to keep pressing on with the courage and commitment to press on.  As GK Chesterton explained so eloquently, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”

[Tweet “As GK Chesterton explained so eloquently, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.””]

When you and your team are grinding through the ups and downs of your mission, moved by the Holy Spirit, regardless how you feel or what the odds are, people will take notice and say, “Incredible. They are doing incredible work. How can I support them?” This for many organizations is their tipping point for donations.

Conclusion

If you can demonstrate these seven value points, you will both energize your staff and inspire people to donate. There is, however, one hurdle to jump. So often, we mix humility with shyness. We don’t want to talk about ourselves and ‘big us up’. It’s seen as being full of pride and not Catholic. We’d rather stay humble than mention how we did something incredible, like feed 1,000 hungry children in the past month.

The word humility derives from the word humus which means from the earth. Humus signifies lowliness or submissiveness. Although we may be humble, our mission is bold and confident. It’s part of Christ’s mission to bring his love to everyone. So we cannot be shy about the incredible mission God has asked us to complete. It’s life-changing, life-fueling and life-giving.

As Saint Ignatius said, “ite, inflammate omnia—go, set the world on fire.” He parallels Our Lord’s words, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” – Luke 12:49

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A Success Study – How the 7 Steps Can Work for You

I worked with one Catholic organization to fulfil these seven points. Together, we blew the dust off their value (they confused humility of spirit with the confidence of mission) and soon attracted the attention of people to their work, attending events and volunteering to help. Also, some signed up to be donors. Some even donated large sums of money. One donation was for $35,000. Then, two other donations came in: $15,000 and $9,000.

This is a great example of how presenting your value to people can have a significant impact on your fundraising.

Contact me directly if you want to learn more about how you can achieve the same kinds of results.

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Discussion Question: What is one way you demonstrate your value to people? Leave your comment below.

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