A recent listserv post by a non-profit asked the question - How should we adapt our messaging now that funders are cutting back?
One of our network members, Karen Paul Stern and I came up with some suggestions. She watched an appeal recently where the non-profit leader launched into the same spiel that he did the year before, without even acknowledging that things are different now. The reaction was not good.
So if you're looking for funding - or to get more business from existing clients or members - here are three messages that can help.
1. We're All in This Together
Acknowledge that everyone is struggling right now and that it's not necessarily the best time to ask. Ask about how are your funders' priorities changing - what are they looking for in a charity now? Address their concerns and try to figure out a way to help them too.
2. We Have a History
This is someone you know, an organization or a client who has given you work or funding in the past. They know you, they know what you do well, they know what you don't, you have a relationship, a history. Remind them of the benefits they've gotten from working with you before and the work you do, your attention to detail, to service, to reporting, to communicating shared success.
3. We Need You More Now Than Ever
OK - now here's where you make your pitch. Everyone is hurting - the work that we do is still needed, in fact more so. Explain why and how what they give helps - quantify and measure results whenever possible.
Questions - please ask.