Your Children Are Safe

November 2, 2009
by Stacy Carkonen, Grassroots Fundraising and Development Officer

Recently, a fundraising professional I met at a conference told a story about going on an unexpected site visit to a children’s home.

She was on vacation with her husband and had no intention of making a gift that day. She went because a friend asked her. But after touring the facilities and being completely blown away by the achievements of this nonprofit, she and her husband made a spur of the moment $1,000 donation.

Several months later four hurricanes ravaged the area where the nonprofit was located. Not long after, she received an e-mail from the nonprofit’s executive director.

When she recalled the story, she said, “Here’s what I thought: Oh boy, here we go. I’ve barely heard a word from them and now they’re going to use the hurricane to ask me for more money.”

Cynically, she sat down and opened the e-mail. It was a very short note from the executive director that said:

Your building held.

Your generator worked.

Your children are safe.

We hope you are safe, too. Please let us hear from you.

Ok, I admit it, I got teary when she told me this story. I hadn’t even given them money and I suddenly felt so connected to the safety of this organization. What was so extraordinary was that they didn’t make the e-mail about themselves — they made the e-mail about the donor, the donor’s contribution, and the children the donor cared about. So, did she make another contribution that day? You bet she did — and larger than her first.

In that one very short e-mail the organization communicated several things that are critical to donors.

  • Trust: “You did what you said you were going to do with my money and it worked.”
  • Partnership: “You made me feel like I was an integral part of that success — you made me feel like a partner, like I had a stake in the outcome.”
  • Relationship: “You deepened our relationship and my commitment to the organization and their mission. I’ve gone from a one-time donor — to a life-long donor.”

People don’t give to an organization because they love the organization — they give because they have fallen in love with the mission, vision, and success of that organization. They give because of the people we serve, the environment we care about, the shared values we cherish.

How often have we fallen into the trap of only talking about RESULTS instead of truly wrapping our donors into those stories and successes we’ve achieved with their support?

How often have we failed to connect them with an individual that their donation touched – a microcredit borrower whose life has been transformed, a school girl whose life is now filled with hope, a family that’s making ends meet after the loss of a job thanks to the extension of unemployment benefits?

This is what we all want to know as donors – how is my money making a difference? Who is it touching? How has my donation made someone’s life safer, healthier, and happier?  

As you fully enter into this fall fundraising season, writing letters and having parties, remember, our donors are truly the muscle of this machine. They are the fuel that keeps our engines humming, our voices powerful, and the world’s families safe and thriving. Without them there would be no RESULTS or RESULTS Educational Fund.  

We have so much to celebrate and share with our donors and prospective donors — have a great time sharing how their investment in RESULTS and REF has and will continue to bring health, hope, and opportunity to all who seek it.

For fundraising support, please contact Stacy Carkonen.

Check out our  fundraising support tools online.

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