Over the past few years, our trust in traditional, official messengers has eroded. We increasingly look to people like ourselves for reliable information.
You need to let other people – trusted people – speak for you. If your message isn’t making a difference, try changing your messenger. It shouldn’t just be your executive director out there online – it should be trusted leaders in your community, your most ardent supporters and the people you serve.
This is a good idea for three reasons:
• First, personal fundraising is based on a two-way relationship, not a one-sided promotion. It puts the cause-related message in the mouth of the person most likely to prompt a donation: someone the audience knows. The act of giving becomes an attractive way for the audience to play a role in the relationship – to show that he or she is someone who cares about doing good, who wants to be a supportive friend, and who is a part of something larger then himself/herself.
• Second, the personal fundraiser is an authentic and authoritative messenger. People listen to other people. Messengers from outside an organization are often more credible than the organization itself. That’s why an outside messenger – such as a donor that fundraises for an organization – has the potential to cut through the communications clutter.
• Third, people listen to personal fundraisers because their messages are based in story. There is no more powerful form of communication when it comes to moving people to action than storytelling. Storytelling often comes more naturally to supporters than to charities themselves. The effect of these personal stories is remarkable as a recruitment vehicle for charities.
While you’re at it, don’t just ask your fans for money – ask them to spread the word. Make sure it’s easy for them to evangelize on your behalf. This helps grow your base of compelling and influential messengers!
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Image courtesy of Flickr user HowardLake under a creative commons license