With limited assets and unlimited sources of information, donors have become more sophisticated and more discerning about who receives their money. And with tens of thousands of potential nonprofits to donate to, they will search for a nonprofit that best fits their values and expectations. As a nonprofit leader, you must assure donors that their money is being used effectively by showing return on investment (ROI). Show them the results of their donation.
The other night I had a friend over—a missionary-hopeful on his way to New Zealand. Before he could move to this new country, he had to raise enough funds to live there. I invited him over for dinner to hear about what he was doing and decide whether I wanted to donate. As he shared over dinner his hopes of going to New Zealand, I started asking him questions about his future work. I realized very quickly that he didn’t have a plan. He hadn’t researched what the current spiritual climate of the country was. He didn’t know how he would go about starting a church once he got there. He didn’t even have a plan for how long he would stay before returning to the US. His presentation included lots of passion and hope, and even stunning pictures of New Zealand’s landscape. But when it came down to what he would actually accomplish by going to New Zealand, it was clear he had no concrete plans. I enjoyed his stories, thanked him for his presentation, and saved my dollars for a different cause.
Unfortunately, this young man is just one example of many fundraisers who lack clear goals or knowledge of what the return will be on their donors’ investments. With so many nonprofits vying for a limited donor pool, ministries can’t afford to be vague in what they hope to accomplish or are currently accomplishing. The competition is too fierce for vagueness.
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