Using feedback to supercharge your fundraising
Feedback can be an effective tool to help you raise money to address problems and make improvements.
In any nonprofit, there is a need to raise money perpetually. Most successful nonprofits are always on the lookout for new ways to raise money more effectively and balance the need to provide quality services. Naturally, this need to balance tasks leads to tension as you can't spend all your time raising money or giving services. This tension means that whenever you can make either of those tasks more effective, it pays (often literally) to make changes.
One often-overlooked way to improve your fundraising process is by connecting your organization's feedback process with its development goals. By combining these two seemingly separate parts of your organization, you can supercharge your fundraising efforts.
Most great fundraisers will tell you that raising money is all about telling a compelling story. Feedback is simply a story being told by your clients, staff, or volunteers. The most persuasive giving campaigns are where these two ideas synergize. Connecting candid feedback to the larger story of your organization can help your donors see through your clients' eyes, and in response, often, the urge to help is tremendous.
Using feedback from volunteers to drive donations
One way to quickly connect your donors to the candid feedback stories that drive donations is by making them the center of that story. One of your most likely donor bases is your volunteer groups.
By asking your volunteers for feedback, you can understand what type of experience they just had. If their experience is positive (it often is), you can immediately ask for their financial support. You can prepare them to give more by asking them what deficiencies they saw in your services and how they would fix them.
By connecting their advice to a donation request, you help them feel like the hero in the story. They can help provide the ideas and the means for improving others' lives.
The longer you wait to gather feedback or make a donation request, the more likely the emotion behind that experience fades. We recommend asking for feedback (and the accompanying donation) as soon as they finish serving.
Using clients stories to share your successes
One of the most straightforward and oft-used strategies for using feedback in gathering donations is by sharing success stories in your clients' own words.
Stories like "This place changed my life" can be a compelling narrative to share. You will often see these as testimonials on nonprofit web pages or included in direct mailer campaigns.
This tried, and true method can work wonders but beware of attempting to polish the story. Stories that are too polished can come off as fake or too good to be true. Let your client tell their stories and then pass those on in their own words and include any helpful context.
Using client stories to share your failures
Sharing negative feedback can be daunting, and most nonprofits would rather hide their dirty laundry, but most nonprofits also miss out on a tremendously powerful fundraising opportunity.
By sharing your organization's struggles, you invite people to see themselves as the solution to the problem. Do you have someone complaining about your lack of WIFI? Share it with your community, grantmakers, and other donors and see what solutions emerge.
By utilizing the unfiltered feedback from your clients, staff, and volunteers, you can give people unique and authentic insights into how exactly their hard-earned dollars will help.
Feedback makes funding requests more compelling
Feedback can become an extremely useful tool as you look for ways to raise money as a nonprofit. It helps tell stories authentically that will move people to empathize, and that empathy leads to more donations.
We highly recommend you try implementing a strategy of utilizing feedback in your fundraising process.