In my last blog, 3 questions about measurement, I received some great feedback, especially about the last two questions: Can you explain it? and Does it motivate? I address “Does it motivate” in this article.
Know your people -Understanding what motivates begins by understanding and knowing the people: your donors and your employees. In “3 questions”, I share the story of a colleague who was frustrated because his new hire was not performing. In his interview notes, it was there. He had heard what motivated the salesperson and why the person wanted to join the team, because the products save lives. However, he did not absorb it and make it part of the strategy. Instead, he used the routine training schedule and standard measurements, even though other tools and measurements were available. How often do we listen to see how we can respond with the standard stuff, instead of listening to respond to what was asked, or even pause and make sure we understand. Listen and hear what is said, don’t listen to reply.
Make it about the impact – More is often just more, unless you are working towards something, even when we are talking about bonuses. If we understand the plans that someone has with that extra money, we can participate in that motivation.
We all have our wish list for when we win the lottery or Santa Claus. Understanding what is on that wish list helps us to motivate. It could be as tangible as a vacation and a new car, or altruistic as a cure for cancer or pre-school for every child. For employees, motivation is often obvious like children or bills. For the donor, there is still a transactional exchange and perceived value. One of the local Food Banks does an awesome job of making it about the impact. Every time they post a picture about receiving a check, they never give the amount of the check, they talk about the number of meals provided. Talk about IMPACT! Talk about VALUE! This Food Bank has a standard measurement that is shared even when they are not present, that stat is $1 = 4 meals.
Can you make all those statistics down to ONE – As well as you understand the statistics and need of your cause, can you convert them into ONE. I am not meaning a single statistic, I am talking about 1 person you have helped. I am talking about one family that has a better outlook. I am talking about one community that is better off. A famous quote by Joseph Stalin is a “a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” Give your donors the opportunity to experience the impact of their gift by visualizing themselves, a family member, or close friend as a recipient. Everybody wants to make a difference like the child throwing the starfish back into the ocean.
Understand the competition – When fundraisers hear the word competition, they first think about other charities. However, they should also consider who other prospective donors are. This offers several opportunities when connecting with a donor. To certain individuals, fundraisers are not only social, but also networking events. Some business people may use a charity as a means to connect with another business person. Do not overlook a confident salesperson who may use your event to connect with a potential prospect.
Other philanthropist may see another philanthropist as the justification to support your cause. A type of 3rd party endorsement. Also, be prepared to respond to the question, “Why support you when X organization already serves your cause” by discussing strengths of each organization. Avoid weaknesses. Chances are the donor is informed, and any negative comment will leave them with a bad taste.
Know and understand your own story – Regardless of the industry, “success is about relationships” and “people buy people”. If you did not get paid for raising money (and could afford to) for this cause, would you still do it? Do you support this organization and why? When I first begun to translate my skills from sales to fundraising, I recognized one skill that cannot be taught in my colleagues: passionate belief for the organization and its mission. The ability to respond with passion and belief, is not the carrot or the stick, it is the hunger for that carrot. It is the ability to not see just a carrot, but a rich, orange, vitamin filled delicacy of epic nature in a single vegetable. It is the reason you get out of bed to do your job. It motivates you and inspires others.
I hope this made you think about how you drive results by: listening; learning about your co-workers and donors; and understanding yourself.