Mentored Fundraising Assignment 3 Discussion Page
6-Month Mentored Nonprofit Fundraising Certificate Program

This week’s resources:
Class Home Page for Mentored Fundraising
Fundraising Assignment 3 Homework Instructions
Magee Example of Fundraising Assignment 3

Assignment 3. What does your nonprofit do?
Specifically, in a sound bite, let’s make this sound attractive to your new, potential supporters.
This week, we’re going to jump right into the deep end of the next important part necessary for engaging with potential supporters of your organization. It will be an exercise in beginning to identify—very specifically—who you are and what you do.

So over several weeks we are in the process of documenting 1) what your nonprofit needs, 2) who your potential supporters are, 3) what your potential supporters are asking for, and 4) how you can describe what you do in a manner that provides THE answer for what they’re asking for. These four steps will give you the ammunition that you need to write short, simple, targeted campaigns that will get your ideal supporters to go to your website—and engage with you.

So…. we might as well start off by being as specific as we can about what your organization can offer supporters. The ideas below could be examples for a food bank of things potential subscribers would like to know about:

Prioritized Goal: Increase Newsletter Subscriptions from Targeted Subscribers. Use the initial information about the motivations of your current supporters from last week that would lead new supporters to consider subscribing to your newsletter.

Target: Local community members and potential donors that you may have met in your hometown though a local church or a community meeting or gathering. Motivation is based on a specific call to action by the pastor. Let’s say that the pastor has raised their interest in your local food bank. What does your organization do that could further engage them?

  • Your food bank serves 2,500 unique individuals living in poverty each year.
  • Your organization has been doing this for 14 years.
  • You have three convenient food bank locations.
  • You focus on young families with children and house-bound elderly members of the community.
  • You partner with local grocery stores and restaurants. This provides an unusual and very welcome variety of food for your clients—and reduces food waste for these partners.
  • You have heartwarming stories of individual clients—and photos too!
  • Food bank clients are interesting, meaningful, contributing members of the community. Get to know them!
  • You have human interest stories and photos of people in your partnering restaurants and grocery stores.

Target: Potential volunteers. These tend to be retired women from your hometown who might like to volunteer for an ongoing position. They are motivated by having something meaningful to do, by regular contact with fellow volunteers, by regular contact with food bank clients, by learning new things about need, nutrition, and learning about the food waste complexities faced by restaurants and grocery stores. What does your organization do that could further engage them?

  • You have fulfilling volunteer positions at the food bank.
  • You have been working with volunteers for 14 years.
  • 80% of volunteers stay for over 2 years.
  • You currently work with a regular group of 24 food bank volunteers.
  • You offer flexible, accommodating hours and multiple locations for volunteers.
  • You can provide transportation to the food banks.
  • There are regular, returning clients for volunteers to get to know.
  • Volunteers can take home food too.
  • You organize interesting, quarterly presentations by specialists such as physicians, nutritionists, social workers, restauranteurs, and donor agencies so that volunteers can continue learning about the importance of what they do.
  • Volunteers enjoy reading your newsletter about their new friends each month.
  • Volunteers develop new friendships in the community.

Target: Clients who utilize your food bank and potential new clients who would like updates in a newsletter. Hoping to gain access to a variety of nutritious food is their motivation What does your organization do that could further engage them?

  • You serve 2,500 unique people a year.
  • Hunger isn’t a problem in your community: malnutrition is.
  • Nutrition: Your program is designed to fill the gap for clients between undernutrition and a well nourished person for each client.
  • You have delicious 20 minute weeknight recipes using the food you provide for busy young working families.
  • Volunteers deliver food to 75 house-bound elderly community members per week.
  • Opening hours are scheduled to be convenient for busy young working families.
  • Personalized birthday cakes are provided for client children in partnership with several grocery stores.
  • You have human interest stories and photos of your clients and volunteers.

So in this relatively simple list, you will have identified points of interest for potential new supporters based upon what you know about your current support base. Highlighting these points of interest in your newsletter and website can lead to increasing numbers of subscribers.

All of this information can be used for developing sound bites for your initial campaign. Over the next few weeks we will use this initial list of your unique services to begin refining your Unique Selling Propositions (USP) to really match what your new, potential supporters are looking for.

I’m going to suggest that when you complete this week’s assignment that you put it together with the first two assignments and put them into a notebook. Make sure each is dated. This will continue developing your set of templates which you can revise and improve upon over time so that one day when you decide to launch a new campaign you will have current and exacting information for making decisions.

Getting started.
So let’s get going. Here’s what we’re going to do in week three.

First: Get specific about who your organization is for the purpose of developing your campaigns. Focus your list of things that you do well in the eyes of the supporters that you identified last week.

You might be able to sit down and do this third assignment in 30 minutes. On the other hand, you may feel compelled to interview a few people in your organization to clarify your unique selling propositions are. Congratulations! At the end of three weeks you will have:

  1. A highly specific goal for developing a new campaign for connecting with supporters online.
  2. A well defined list of the types of supporters you need to engage with in order to fulfill your goal.
  3. A list of compelling things that your nonprofit does that will address what your supporters are looking for.

The Assignment Three Homework Instructions will guide you through a simplified process. Enjoy!

I look forward to seeing your third assignment and I’ll see you next week in A4.

Copyright © Tim Magee