If you’ve ever spent time with little kids you know one of their favorite words is why. You’ll answer a question, and he’ll respond with “but why?” again and again…… It may start to get annoying, but it’s good for people of all ages to be inquisitive and ask questions.
This applies to nonprofits, too. A lot of our communication isn’t focused on why something is important. There’s usually a lot of what and how, but not much why.
The typical fundraising letter and newsletter article rambles on about accomplishments without explaining why something matters. Some organizations also like to pour on the statistics. These numbers don’t mean much without more information.
As you work on your messages, pretend your donor is a four-year-old who keeps asking “but why?” over and over again.
Why is what you do important?
Here’s something you might see in a newsletter or annual report.
We expanded our tutoring program to four more high schools.
Okay, but why is that important?
To serve more students.
That’s good, but why is that important?
After six months of weekly tutoring sessions, 85% of the students in our program have improved their math skills. Many of them fell behind during remote learning.
There you go. Tell your donors about the impact you’re making.
Why should someone donate to your organization?
Do your appeals focus on why it’s important to donate to your organization? Instead of saying something generic like please donate to our year-end appeal, tell a story emphasizing why someone should donate to your organization.
Darren, a 10th grader at Simmons High School, wanted to throw his algebra book across the room. He always struggled with math, but it was even harder during the height of the pandemic when they had to resort to remote learning. Because of that, he fell behind and had to repeat algebra.
Then Darren started weekly tutoring sessions with Jake, a volunteer tutor. It was difficult at first, but thanks to Jake’s patience and guidance, Darren got a B on his last test.
Many other students fell behind during remote learning and could use a tutor. After six months of weekly tutoring sessions, 85% of the students in our program have improved their math skills. With your help, we can expand our program to serve more students in more schools.
Again, focus on why.
Why is your donor’s gift valuable?
When you thank your donors, do you tell them why their gift is valuable? Give a specific example.
Thank you so much for your generous gift of $50. This will help cover the expenses of our one-to-one weekly tutoring sessions. After six months of these tutoring sessions, 85% of the students in our program have improved their math skills. This is crucial since many of these students fell behind during remote learning
It’s all about the why.
Why do you appreciate your donors?
Finally, do your donors know why you appreciate them? You need to tell them this again and again.
Thank you so much for doing your part in helping high school students boost their math skills. We couldn’t do this without you.
Start channeling your inner four-year-old and focus on why.
2 thoughts on “Channel Your Inner Four-Year-Old and Focus on Why”
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