Every Monday I will create a short video answering a question from a member of the Nonprofit Social Media Storytelling Group. We call it #MailbagMonday! Check back every Monday inside the Group to see if I answer your question!
I often receive this question, or a variation of it:
“With all the fundraisers going on (especially on Facebook) how do you engage your audience to make them excited about your cause? Especially when it’s not a hot button issue, crisis, or popular cause?”
“What if you’re not raising funds for kids, cancer or animals, meaning your story isn’t very compelling? Ways around that?”
I’m a firm believer that there are no “unsexy” causes, just “unconfident” or “uncreative” fundraisers!
We know that sexiness is really a state of mind.
It’s all about confidence. It’s about how someone carries themself.
For nonprofits, this philosophy applies as well.
If you think your cause is “unsexy” – everyone else will too.
If you think your stories are not compelling – everyone else will too.
If you aren’t excited about your cause – why would anyone else get excited?
You need more confidence in the value of your message.
Wishy-washy, watered down messages DON’T resonate.
The tools are not the point here.
Yes, there are many, many competing fundraisers on Facebook and on other platforms.
But if you aren’t clear on who you need to reach and what you are saying, it doesn’t matter if you use Facebook or Instagram or Paypal or another way – it won’t work.
1) Focus on one thing.
I know that there is a very good reason for your organization to exist.
Find that reason.
Yes, the reason may be complicated.
It may be difficult to explain.
Boil this reason down into one sentence.
Why do you exist?
What would happen if you closed your doors tomorrow?
2) Frame your message.
Add detail to this reason to make it a message.
Frame this message in terms of loss – What would we lose if you closed your doors?
What would society lose? What would your clients lose?
What would the community, the world lose?
You may have to work harder to convey this message to people, to get them to listen. But that’s ok. That’s your job.
3) Add in storytelling.
Collect and tell stories around this reason.
4) Preach to the choir.
Get this reason in front of a group of people who do care.
(Do not worry about those who don’t care. You aren’t talking to them.)
5) Ask them to share.
Encourage this group of believers to share it with 5 others who could be believers as well.
If you can’t find anyone who cares enough to support your cause, then you have to do some real soul searching about how to move forward and why you are doing this work.
It may NOT be as universally appealing as kids, cancer, and puppies.
But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try.
Your cause needs you, and there are people out there ready to hear your message, as long as you are ready to share it.