Resolution: Make It Matter

January 4, 2016



Written By: Bruce

By Bruce Berglund

This January, the Donor By Design Team is offering a series of resolutions: Strategies and commitments to enhance your ability to connect with donors and generate support for your important work. 

As we partner with our nonprofit clients, one of our first tasks is to review their case for support. Bill Hybels, Sr. Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, defines leadership very simply: The ability to move your organization from here to there. He goes onto explain that in order to move your organization to “there,” you need to make “here” unacceptable.

This is an important bedrock and reminder for us as we build our cases for support. We must make our case so urgent and timely that it simply isn’t acceptable to do nothing. Our cases must lead our fundraising efforts from here to there.

Another way to think of it is that our cases must focus on the why not the what.  If your case focuses on the “what” (a new building, a facility expansion, etc.), a prospective donor is left to wonder:

  • What’s the urgent need to move forward with this effort now?
  • If I do nothing, what will happen?
  • Why is this project better able to address community needs than other philanthropic opportunities presented to me by other nonprofits?
  • Ultimately, will my investment make a difference and why? Does this cause really need my participation?

If we are trying to move our prospects and donors from here to there with our case for support, we need to make sure that we explain why the time is now, that inaction will have a negative effect on your mission, that this project is worthy of philanthropic investment and why this donor’s participation is critical. It’s tough to create momentum and community adoption of a cause if it doesn’t clearly articulate why doing nothing is not acceptable.

Join me in my 2016 fundraising resolution: To make sure our cases convey an urgent need and clearly answer the question “does it really matter?”

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2 responses to “Resolution: Make It Matter”

  1. JanWaters says:

    Thank you, Bruce, for this straight-to-the-heart reminder … may you and your team have a great year moving your clients from “here” to “there” in 2016! I’ll take this message with me to mine…Cheers to Donor by Design!!