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Where's Our Voice

It’s hard not to be riveted to the national political scene nowadays. When every day brings new twists and turns, it can feel like stepping back for even a few hours means missing a crucial development.

But for those of us whose organizational missions are not directly aimed at influencing the political arena, how do we craft a message during this time that is relevant and urgent enough to inspire financial support?

This is an especially timely inquiry in mid-October, as we turn to writing our year-end appeals. 

In times of great turmoil, whether natural disasters (hurricanes) or national preoccupations (wars), people’s attention is captured by these mega-happenings. To simply ignore these issues, when they’re on people’s minds, is to risk seeming out of touch, irrelevant. But to cloak your cause in the mantle of a crisis when there’s no integral connection also feels false – opportunist, in a way. Neither leads to an honest, true voice.

The approach that works is to be clear, direct and eloquent about the need your organization tackles – presumably, it’s no less pressing now than it was a month ago (or will be a month from now). Connect with people’s values…with their ability to have an impact on the ground…with their need to put their dollars to work making a concrete difference right now…with their desire to have pride in their community, their identity, their world.

Once you’ve written a strong, passionate, call to arms that resonates with prospective donors, the most critical component to getting it heard in this crowded marketplace are your messengers.

This, more than anything, is the element that helps your message cut through the noise generated by current events. Of all the emails I get a day, whose do I pay attention to? Those sent by my dear friends. Of all the Facebook messages I scroll through, whose do I stop on? My trusted colleagues. And so on.

Rounding up an enthusiastic team of advocates is the single most important difference you can make in the reception of your year-end appeal – in this turbulent age (and, hint, in any age).

Getting your message right, and getting your voice heard, is never easy. In the Fall of 2019, it’s especially tricky – but our missions depend on us.

Join Cause Effective at Making Your Fundraising Ask: How to Stand out in Turbulent Times on October 29th, when we will help to position your organization for the upcoming fundraising season and into 2020. Register for this working session on Eventbrite.