Making the Case for Fundraising Investment

Posted on by Christine DeLooze | 1 Comment »

I recently read an article in Fundraising Success, in which the author, Pamela Barden, gave suggestions on how fundraisers could more effectively present information to convince a nonprofit board or leadership team that investing in fundraising is essential for an organization’s future. It struck me as I read the article that her ideas can equally apply to service providers proposing an integrated fundraising solution to a development director at a nonprofit or a director of institutional advancement at a university.

Tell the story behind the numbers

Barden encourages fundraisers to not just present data to decision makers, but make clear what the consequences of not fortifying the fundraising program are. Her examples would make great implication questions for service providers to ask, “Your number of donors acquired has been flat for the last three years? What does that mean for next year and five years from now? The average gift is declining? How will that affect program delivery?”

Barden recommends that fundraisers not only present scenarios of what will happen if an investment is not made in the fundraising program, but also the projected outcome if the program is improved. For example, Barden suggests considering, “If every active donor increased his or her annual giving an average of 5 percent next year, how much more income would that produce?” Or another scenario, “If you could reactivate twice as many lapsed donors, what would that do to the bottom line?”

I would add to these suggestions my own recommendation that the consequences should not just be told through pie charts or graphs, but through stories. People become emotionally engaged with a well told story. According to a study by Stanford University, stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone.

For service providers this means you should be prepared with a variety of stories including:

  • Customer stories that highlight how you have solved a fundraising challenge for another organization and the impact that solution has had. Don’t have your own success story? Craft your message around one of PODi’s case studies.
  • Company stories that illustrate what make you different from the competition
  • Industry stories that demonstrate your understanding of trends in the customer’s market

Once you have gained the interest of the fundraising director, offer your support to make the case before the board of directors or other decision makers that investing in an integrated fundraising solution will enable the organization to meet its goals.

Through the Zenarate online training platform, PODi members have numerous resources to help build their own stories. Sales teams can:

  • Review sample customer stories and talk tracks
  • View webinar recordings specifically focused on selling fundraising solutions
  • Capture and practice the delivery of effective stories

Do not yet have access to Zenarate? Complete the contact us form.

Sales teams interested in selling fundraising solutions to the higher education market can also benefit from PODi’s webinar series. The next webinar in the series is on August 27th at 12:00pm U.S. Eastern Daylight Time, “Objection Handling Skills – Higher Education Fundraising.” Register now.

One Response to “Making the Case for Fundraising Investment”

Comment from Peter Pereira
Time October 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

Good article :)

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