This week I’ve pitched the importance of leveraging your "missionaries" with new social networking tools as a fundraising strategy.

I’ve also suggested ways to identify which of the 10-15% of your donors might be your missionaries.

But missionaries have an additional value beyond any direct personal fundraising they might do.

I submit that they are your best source of insight into what is most compelling about your organization, how effectively you are communicating your special virtues, and what more you could be doing. They are "inside" enough to have distinct impressions of your organization, but "outside" enough to see (and value) things you and your staff colleagues do not see or fully appreciate. They undoubtedly have an exceptionally strong commitment to the mission of your organization, and therefore have looked at — and maybe support — other organizations in the same space. But they have found something special in your organization that has inspired a special commitment. They have discovered the "essence" of your organization, and it turns them on! What is it?

And all you need to do is ask them systematically for their insights … and then try to "bottle" the essence. If you can do that, and communicate that essence with greater focus and emphasis in your other messaging to prospects and existing donors, you just might lift the performance of your entire fundraising program.

This is why smart marketers stay close to their on-the-line salespeople and best customers. No one knows and values the "product" more. And what they tell you might even help you identify the prospects who are most likely to respond as strongly.

Have you listened to your missonaries lately?

Tom

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