Tom Ahern, a renowned nonprofit copywriting expert, joined Convergent Principal Jay Werth on a recent podcast episode to discuss ways nonprofit and economic development leaders can deepen donor relationships and cultivate investors by shifting their copywriting tone and messaging. “Nonprofit leaders often miss that their customer is their donor/investor, not just the people they are serving. In the nonprofit world it’s important to win over the investor by marketing what’s in it for them and for the community’s future,” said Tom. “This is a shift away from messaging focused on the people being served.”
“You have to build backwards from your target sector. You have to really understand your target audience and what they care about,” said Tom. Though important, this shift isn’t easy – but it’s something we’ve been doing at Convergent for 15 years! .
Convergent’s process is designed to address this critical shift. Our feasibility studies begin with a lens for clarifying the valuable outcomes that an organization delivers, so that we can appropriately gauge the amount of funding investors are willing to commit.”
With this information collected and analyzed, we are able to provide specific recommendations on both the amount that can be raised, as well as they factors in messaging that should be incorporated into a case for investment, and campaign communication. To Tom’s point, this is an intentional shift away from focusing on service (or outputs as we would call them) and honing in on true investable outcomes the organization is delivering.
With this information at our disposal, we’re able to engage potential donors and convert them to long-term investors – the ultimate goal of any fundraising campaign.
But we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – the value of a more traditional or “emotional” appeal remains critical alongside the outcome minded approach. Enter the importance of storytelling! Even for those of us who love data, there’s no substitute for being able to put a face, with the data to drive home the true impact that outcomes deliver.
Catch the full conversation on how to effectively communicate with potential donors, listen to this episode of Convergent’s podcast, the Difference. In it, you’ll hear more important insight from Tom such as how to avoid the “7 deadly sins of writing the appeal or case statement.”