Let’s start at the end: You can’t ask someone else to give until you have made your gift first.
Now, for how I got there. When considering how to secure funds for a non-profit organization or institution many people first think about “rich” people who could give such as Oprah, Bill Gates, or Bill Cosby. Still others think about securing government funds, ideally an “earmark” or special appropriation for a large project. Others recommend to start by hiring a grant writer to secure foundation grants.
Yes, these are all way for securing funds. However, they don’t start at the beginning, which is with you. If you are associated with a non-profit organization or institution as a board member, volunteer, employee, student, participant, patient, or client the giving has to start with you – whether it’s money, time — whatever.
Amazing, but true. If you – the people most closely involved with an organization or institution – don’t give, why should anyone else? If we don’t believe in ourselves, why should anyone else?
Here’s four reasons this is true:
- Your giving demonstrates your commitment. When you make a financial gift to an organization you are involved with you are communicating the value the organization has to you. You are signaling to others that a specific church, college, food bank, museum, hospital, youth program or advocacy group is important enough for you to give of your hard-earned money. That is really the bottom line. You are letting your money talk.
- Funders want to know the level of support that exists for an organization or institution. Funders such as foundations, corporations, and government agencies want to know the number of donors who give each year and the total value of their collective gifts. That’s people, not institutions. They also want to know that all board members give, and they often want to know how much they give, as well as the total amount of money they raise from others. If an organization’s own board members don’t give it, why should someone else?
- The size of your gift is also important. While very few of us are millionaires, we all know when we are making a gift that is significant given our current circumstances and obligations. When you make a gift that represents a meaningful contribution you can then ask others to do the same.
- Giving feels good. It just does. It feels good to give to things you believe in. And when you make a gift you know you are part of the solution. It makes it easier—and truer — to ask others to give because you have made your gift first.
That’s it for now! Until our next post, remember to have a FUNdraising Good Time! – Mel and Pearl