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Thinking from your donor’s lens when approaching fundraising

There are 2 aspects to this that can change the way we see fundraising:

1. Involving the right members across departments when fundraising

Sometimes fundraising members set their own game plan, pitching strategies, and priorities they want to focus on when communicating. In most cases they do this in isolation. That’s where the strategy struggles at times.

Planning together with members from the program team, advisory board, and other departments that can bring in different perspectives can help (if managed well). While getting multiple opinions can turn it into a mess, if you’re able to orchestrate the brainstorm well it can be extremely beneficial to you. This is provided you are able to clearly communicate to the team that you have the final say.

Here’s a quick example of how it could strengthen the fundraising strategy- Most donors are looking for some form of connection with the org. These are typically done through impact numbers, stories of changes, photography etc. While the fundraising member might have a few thoughts on what the donor might find interesting, the person delivering the program on ground will have a closer understanding of which stories have been the most powerful in the recent time. Additionally, they would have perhaps see third person observers like govt. body reps and implementation partners being drawn to these stories - which is also a great data point to consider when deciding what to feature.

Your board of advisors tend to be in similar social circles as your target donors. Their preferences and opinions is another strong data point to factor in when shortlisting impact examples. Long story short, looping in additional members in your fundraising plans helps you counter your biases and have a varied set of data points to decide what could work better for the funder.

2. Keeping a check on our personal biases when approaching fundraising

We are usually under pressure to raise our target funds. This pressure can make us lose sight of the biases we are bringing into some of the decision making. “I’m bored of seeing the same photos, so I need to switch them up”. “I think the colours look dull and that’s why the pitch doesn’t work”. Is that what you think? Or is this something that you’ve sensed donors feel. When the pressure is on, we are going to focus on making changes to our pitches that “we don’t like” versus prioritising aspects that may have not connected with them. It’s critical for us to keep a check on this.

A simple way to do this, is to ask yourself a few questions listed below Is what I’m saying simple for them to understand and comprehend? Is what I am explaining tangible enough for them to trust and believe? Is what I am sharing inspiring for THEM, (not just for me)? Is what I am showing relatable to them?

Identify the sections/parts that were not making the cut, and start by fixing those before your next fundraising meeting. This structure will help you keep your biases aside and focus on keeping your pitches funder-centred.

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