3 tips to create relationships that enhance fundraising

Article by Tony Bretherton, Senior Consultant
AskRIGHT  / 04 February 2022

When Kevin Roberts was Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, he wrote a book called Lovemarks. It was all about what brands could become – how people could come to love a product ‘beyond reason’.

I worked with Kevin over the years and was inspired and helped by what he did. When it came to establishing Lovemarks, he talked of the importance of intimacy, mystery, and sensuality.

I think intimacy, mystery and sensuality have a real part to play in enhancing fundraising success and the motivation of donors. взять займ онлайн бесплатно.

We know the annual appeal brings in a modest number of gifts from a modest number of donors. We track the dollars raised per year and the number of donors giving each year, and, if you manage a 5% increase compounding over a ten-year period, you are doing well. But, it is a broad appeal for funds and usually without any intimacy at all. Unless, for example, you invite 10 parents to a special year 10 poetry and music night and have students entertain and explain how gifts to annual giving will help upgrade the music room, then it is more intimate – and most parents will make a gift on the way out of the room. If you want a special gift of $500,000, the setting might be more intimate again – the principal’s residence and after dinner in the lounge, and the potential donor not just feeling well fed, but special, uniquely able to help, and appreciated in a real and genuine way.

Mystery is about the unknown. Think of the time you last gave your donors an unexpected treat, or a chance to see or do something they could not have hoped for. In Ireland, it was taking ten unsuspecting visitors from Florida USA out to a farmhouse in the middle of County Limerick for an evening meal – where they found themselves listening to Bill Whelan (who wrote Riverdance) play guitar to them in the kitchen, and where they met Jean Butler (the lead dancer from Riverdance) who chatted with them into the night. They returned to Florida having had experiences they could never have dreamt of or purchased – and where they ran a Black-tie dinner for Limerick University for 250 guests. Perhaps you may have someone special who might just appear at one of your events.

Sensuality is often intimate and special, and it often motivates the donor to give and to give more generously. Think the pianist who plays a concert for just two people in a specially lit room after dinner (sound) – I have seen that result in a gift of half a million US dollars. Think the wine tasting with very fine wine – I know of ten donors who committed to build a fine-arts building on the one evening (and it was not an excess of the wine). The special dinner (taste), the special setting (sight), the candles lit (smell), and so it goes.

One of our responsibilities as fundraisers is to enhance donor motivation, as well as to establish linkage to our school and project knowledge. Motivation is about facts and feelings. Emotional commitment and desire to make a gift (even a gift beyond reason) can be enhanced by providing moments of appropriate intimacy, surprising mystery, and by engaging the senses with experiences that are life giving and appreciated by prospects. It all needs to be within the context of what is real and respectful, but the prospect who feels special is more likely to give you a special gift towards your fundraising project.

Remember: intimacy, mystery, and sensuality.