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Here are 3 Gifts from Marketing to Stressed Mental Health Fundraisers


Three gifts for stressed fundraisers

Dear fundraisers for mental health missions: talk with your doctor about how marketing can alleviate your stress.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month #MHM2018, so I want to focus on you, the poor, forgotten major gifts fundraiser for mental health missions. 

There are a lot of reasons for you to be stressed out right now.

You are either smack-dab in the middle of your fiscal year’s second quarter or in the home stretch before fiscal year end on June 30. Spring is also gala season from hell. And while celebrities and billionaires are giving at historic levels in the U.S., you face very real pressures to find prospects, grow them into donors, and develop those relationships to enable your organization to meet its financial goals and change lives for the better.

After all, you are responsible for securing 71% of the total charitable contributions that come from individual donors. Your board has only so many connections; galas go only so far. It’s your primary job to keep your current donors moving up the giving ladder. You have to break through the noise and keep the attention of people who have many choices in charitable giving—that’s a tough job.

It also is very much like a marketer’s job.

Marketing relieves the pressure of the perfect pitch

Yes. Fundraisers are not marketers. Though I wish I had known more about the following three marketing principles and how to use them when I was a fundraiser. 

Before we get to there, a word about making the ask. 

Major gift fundraisers facilitate a voluntary transaction between donors (buyers) and the social good (product). As I fundraiser, I would have saved time and been much more effective at establishing and building trust (key to fundraising success), if I had applied these three marketing practices diligently and consistently.

It’s the age of #MeToo, of the March for Our Lives, and of chemical weapons attacks. Trauma, anxiety, and depression are everywhere you look in the news. We are bombarded with messages and images of abuse, distress, and injustice to the point where we are now numb to them.

Amid a cacophony of messages, how can you be sure to make an irresistible ask? 

To break through and win a donor's heart money, you have to know what your donor values about your organization, their affiliation with you, their philanthropy and more. 

Less stress = greater good 

As a former fundraiser for mental health missions, I believe that the secret to a perfect pitch is in applying these 3 gifts from marketing: 

  1. Know your ideal buyer persona.

  2. Remember the Rule of Seven.

  3. Brands matter.  

You are the lifeline for your donors to your mental health organization’s good work. If you build a relationship with a donor based on what is important to the donor and message to that donor when and where they are, you will attract new donors to and keep your donors engaged with your mission.

Less stress = greater good

Donor retention has been trending downward for the past decade. To keep your mission top of mind with all your donors, you need a great message that catches their imagination and ignites a desire in them for more meaningful engagement with your organization.

The 3 gifts from marketing can help make a difference in your approach, your communications and how you build a strong connection with your ideal donors to raise more money for your mental health mission. 

Be well. May is Mental Health Awareness Month #MHM2018 for you, too! 

In my next post, I will show you how to turn the ideal buyer persona into an ideal donor persona using your donor database and visit notes.

Be sure to stay in touch on social media.

If you found this post helpful, please share it. Sharing is caring. Help out your fellow stressed mental health fundraisers during Mental Health Awareness Month.