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Your Donors Are Your Best Advocates

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 Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

- Albert Schweitzer

You can tell people why they should donate to your cause but unless you're a volunteer, most people know that you are getting paid to say that. As a member of the staff, you may be the best person to articulate the facts and the need - important information - but to appeal to the emotions, to get the really great story, nothing beats a donor's testimonial.

People who have already given their own money and who are not being paid to ask, have much higher credibility than an employee. This is the main principal behind the success of for-profit review sites like Yelp, RateMyProfessors, and Glassdoor. 

There are a lot of ways you can collect and share donor stories. The American Red Cross uses their website to gather and post stories about why people donate blood. You can also use Facebook and Twitter to ask people why they support your cause or organization.

 

 

If you want to invest a little more time and effort (and have more control over the end result), video testimonials can be very effective. I've also had success with sending online surveys to current donors with just a few questions:

  1. Why do you feel [your cause] is important?
  2. Why did you decide to contribute to [your organization]?
  3. What would you say to people who are thinking about donating to [your organization]? 

The answers can give you enough information to craft a compelling donor statement that can be shared (with their permission) online, in social media, annual reports. etc. By the way, this can also be a powerful part of your stewardship plan since it keeps donors engaged, they usually enjoy playing the role of advocate, and it gives them recognition for their support.

For me, fundraising and communications go together like peanut butter and jelly – delicious & filling!

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