What’s Your MESSAGE?

I was recently asked by a non-profit leader for my “best advice” to someone who is trying to raise funds for their organization.

I thought about it for a minute, then replied simply that the most important thing to think about is YOUR MESSAGE.

Here are some foundational questions:

*What are you wanting to do? What is the purpose behind the project/activity?

*What are the results that you’re hoping to realize from the project/activity?

*Why are YOU wanting to do this project/activity?


Doug Brendel writes about YOUR MESSAGE:

THE MESSAGE is more important than the mechanics of communicating it.

THE MESSAGE must compete with thousands of other matters intruding on the donor’s attention.

THE MESSAGE therefore must be repeated constantly, in terms that the donors understand, and in ways that make it count for them.

(The 7 Deadly Diseases of Ministry Marketing: Berkey, Brendel & Sheline ©1998)


This is what I’ve learned, and what I continue to learn:

When we talk about FUNDRAISING, it’s not about having connections to people with resources.

The most important thing to do first, is to define your message so that people are able to understand:

*WHAT you’re wanting to do and WHY you’re wanting to do it.

Sometimes we make it much more complicated than it needs to be.


Our job isn’t to coerce people into getting involved and giving to the project/activity.

Our job is to share the plan, the purpose and the outcome, and INVITE people to consider getting involved. This is their decision, not ours.


For those of us that believe that GOD really does own it all, our job is to share what He has called us to do, and invite others to seek God’s direction for their involvement. It’s not about us!

We can’t talk about FUNDRAISING without laying this foundation.

There is work involved in fundraising, and there’s real work involved as you refine your message and figure out the best way to capture and present it, but fundraising isn’t a mechanical activity. We’re trying to connect with people’s hearts, and our job is to do the best that we can do, and then trust God to move them and lead them in the way that HE would have them go and be involved.


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