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How to Be a Chameleon of Causes to Appeal to Your Donors’ Passions

In 2014, which category do you think received the most philanthropic gifts?

  • Arts, culture, and humanities
  • Education
  • Environment/animals
  • Foundations
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • International affairs
  • Individuals
  • Public-society benefit
  • Religion

Ready for the answer?

Surprised? I know I was. I thought for sure that Human Services and Education would be higher. You may look at those numbers with depression. “Mano,” you may think, “my agency knits sweaters for city racoons. How are we ever supposed to compete with religious or educational organizations?”

Well, good news, my friend. Just because your agency may be classed as one type of service, doesn’t mean your case has to be.

When the pregnancy center I volunteer at hired Brent to do a fundraising accelerator, he showed us that we weren’t just a pregnancy center. Our mission could be tailored to many different interests. For example, those who are passionate about serving the poor: the pregnancy center provided free services and goods (like diapers, formula, cribs, clothes) to our clients. For those donors interested in education: the center offered free one-on-one counseling and coaching sessions that went through curriculum such as: healthy pregnancy, parenting, and finances. For those excited about women’s issues: the center was coming alongside single mothers who didn’t have a support system to provide material and emotional aid.

Just because we were technically in the “Human Services” category didn’t mean we could only  be that. Like a chameleon, you can change your color to fit a donor’s interests. The important thing is to know what’s important to the donor, then you can appeal to their passion.

**Graph courtesy of: “Giving USA 2015: Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2014 .” Giving USA. Charity Navigator. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.

Are you stuck with racoon sweaters? Dickerson, Bakker & Associates can assess and show you ways to accelerate your fundraising program. Contact us today to find out what forward looks like for you?

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