There are times in fundraising when we get so nervous or so excited about asking someone to give to our mission financially that we don’t adequately express there’s a true need for the mission. But this is a grave mistake. You’re stripping most of the passion out of the mission when you fail to present the need as perilous as it truly stands.
You cannot give a viable solution unless you have clearly stated the problem. Please understand this is an important part of your fundraising communication.
"The hero is only as great as the villain is bad."
This means that if your problem isn't clearly horrific, then what you're doing to solve the problem will never seem that necessary. And that’s the last conclusion you want your potential partner to decide to believe. You can’t present the solution to a problem if there isn’t a problem. So, the conclusion you’re trying to communicate is that this problem can NEVER be solved without their specific help.
Tips to communicate a problem in desperate need of a solution:
1 - Keep It Clear
There needs to be a clear problem; that’s why you developed or joined this mission. But it’s not just any mission, it’s the mission you’re going to ask them to join with you to solve. But not yet! The way you communicate should draw your potential partner to conclude that there is no solution unless they jump in and partner with you. You need to present a clear case for the way you can together make a difference in a single life.
Take, for example, the Ebola crisis. And this article on helping a single child from NPR. There’s a psychological reason the general media will show you pictures of a single person or child struck by bombing across the world. You cannot take action when you look at the whole. And neither can your potential financial partners. Break down your mission into a single impact unit, and you’ll communicate more clearly the passion you have and the difference your partnership will make.
2 - Camp Out
Stay on the problem for as long as possible. You really might feel like you’re dragging it out, but this is an important part of awareness for your potential financial partner. Use statistics, stories, personal experiences, even photos if you have them. This is camping out like Sarah McLachlan in the ASPCA ad.
Explore the horrific truths that might be happening in the people group you're serving, because that will make the solution you’re asking them to join to be just the right solution.
Each of these elements should stay clearly focused on the mission, and cause your potential financial partner to connect with compassion. You want them to develop a deep desire to make a difference in every life of this people group and this problem, even if they’ve just learned about it.
3 - Solve the Problem Together
Finally, show the solution, how someone can solve the problem, and that someone isn’t you. It should be clearly communicated that the one solving the problem is the financial partner. They are making a difference. You couldn’t do it without them! Focus on their involvement in solving the problem. It’s okay to partner and to team up, but it’s not okay to solve this problem on your own. That’s not what is happening here, or you wouldn’t be meeting with these nice people.
Transitioning to the solution provided by the mission is not that tricky. Connecting the impact of the mission directly to the money given by your financial partners will lead you to a fundraising model of consistent, sustainable funding.
“Be the bridge between the world’s greatest needs, the donors’ desires to change the world, and your organization’s mission.” -veritus group
Connecting the impact directly to the person giving money provides sustainable funding because it has nothing to do with you. Your financial partners are directly impacting those who are in need. One day, when you share enough with your financial partners to be a normal person with family sickness, lack of response from those you’re serving, and some discouragement, then your financial partners are not going anywhere. They’ll share your burdens and continue their financial giving no matter the bumps you’ve personally hit along the way. Read more about great example of partnership in a mission here.
Solving this problem together requires a really big problem to solve. What is problem is your mission solving? Tell us on Facebook.
Jodie Coher, Communication Specialist
With a passion for discipleship, it’s a true joy for my writing to be a small part of sending others to the mission field. I also enjoy interacting on social media and spending time with my small family in Missouri.