In order to raise funds, nonprofit charitable organizations must communicate a compelling mission. According to research on both donating and purchasing, our decision to part with money is 67%-90% emotional. If you lead a nonprofit charitable organization, it is imperative that your mission moves the hearts of potential donors.
It is not enough to provide statistics supporting your organization’s effectiveness. Statistics that demonstrate financial prudence will address objections that a donor might raise while deciding whether to not to donate to your organization, but statistics will not compel a potential donor to give. Only your mission will move the donor. So, is your mission emotionally moving?
Not only does your mission have to be moving; it has to touch the hearts of donors immediately. Forget 30-second elevator speeches. Sound byte news and Twitter have shortened our attention spans so much so that our opening sentence better move the potential donor or we have likely lost them.
Can you state the purpose of your organization in one sentence in a way that touches the hearts of potential donors? If not, it’s time go back to the drawing board and ask what moves you to be part of the organization and be able to state it in one sentence.
Here are some questions to make your mission more powerful:
1. What about your mission moves you, personally?
Needless to say, if your organization’s mission doesn’t move you, then convincing others to give is an exercise in futility. If your mission does move you, then how can you state that mission as succinctly and powerfully as possible to move the hearts of potential donors?
2. Does your mission speak to the hearts of human beings?
Does your mission touch a felt-need in the human experience? Does it strike a chord in the hearts of potential donors as soon as they hear it? Does it speak to a deep need that all or most of us can identity with?
3. Is your mission tweet-able?
Can your mission emotionally move a potential donor in 140 characters or less? If not, how can you more succinctly word your mission? What words can you cut? What is the core, the heart, the bottom-line, of your mission?
Many of the most effective nonprofit organizations go even further and encapsulate the heart of their mission in their organization’s name:
No Kid Hungry
Wounded Warrior Project
American Cancer Society
Save the Children
Doctors Without Borders
These names are so effective, donors don’t even have to ask what their mission is. The donor is immediately moved by the name itself. If you can movingly describe your mission even in your name, then your organization has a much better chance of activating potential donors and increasing contributions.
Regardless of your organization’s name, does your organization’s mission move the heart of donors? If not, securing donations will feel like pushing a car that has run out of gas. With a compelling, heart-touching mission, however, the donor dollars move with less effort.
Money follows mission.