DickersonBakker Blog

Elevate Your Fundraising Message: Focus on Impact [Part 2 of 4]

Series Note: Recently, I had the opportunity to observe the donor messaging of a small, community nonprofit in the Midwest. I noticed four common issues in their messaging at this nonprofit that plague many others. In this four-part series, I will share four fail-safe strategies for elevating the impact of your donor messaging.

Click here to read part one of Brents series “Ratchet up the Emotion

In reviewing the messaging materials for this midwestern nonprofit, it was clear “What” they did: repair broken homes. What was not clear was “Why” they did it.   Just because an activity is a “nice thing to do” or demonstrates compassion doesn’t mean that a donor will give money to your cause. In fact, the actual impact of your activities can be missing from your messaging collateral. When it is, your donor is left wondering if your organization is actually effective or simply busy.

Many fundraisers, especially our grants-professional colleagues, use a logic model to sort out the difference between activities and outcomes (aka impact). Here is an example of a very basic logic model:

Elevate Your Fundraising Message - Focus on Impact, DickersonBakker

Inputs – volunteer hours, donated materials, donated dollars, etc.

Activities – what you do with the inputs, e.g. construction work, educating, fundraising, feeding, etc.

Outputs – metrics on your activities, e.g. hours of labor, houses built, clients served, value of donated labor, hours of education, etc.

Outcomes – the impact of your inputs and activities. Outcomes can be short, medium, or long-term. e.g. evidence of increased self-esteem, reduction in missed workdays, income growth, evidence of spiritual growth, reduction in ER visits, etc.

More and more donors focus on the return on their philanthropic investment. Failing to provide thoughtful, timely reports on the impact of their giving is a prime cause of donor fatigue and disengagement. In contrast, doing the work of documenting, analyzing, and then reporting outcomes can help donors calculate their ROI and elevate their giving to your nonprofit.

Be sure to check back next week for part three of Brent’s Elevate Your Fundraising Message series. Looking to bring your fundraising messaging into focus? Contact us today to learn how we can help your nonprofit make a lasting impact on donors & take your fundraising to the next level.

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