How Fundraising is Like A Great Movie

I like movies. They are a great touchpoint for the culture. They forge emotional bonds. I can still remember the first time I saw Star Wars, Superman, and even Casablanca.

What makes these movies memorable? What makes them have a connection? There are good movies and there are bad movies. Some have great casts or “best-picture” Oscar-worthy material. But when it comes down to it, if it fails to deliver from the start, the rest is pointless.

When planning a successful fundraising strategy, you must keep this exact point in mind. When a great movie begins, it always finds a way to grab the audience and connect with their interests and emotions. This is where intrigue is highest, and where the stage is set for the rest of the story to unfold.

Your fundraising strategy is the same, and actually, it does not only start with your donor appeal letter. It starts with motivation and planning!

Some organizations fail to consider the potential benefits and losses that come when developing a fundraising campaign. On one hand, some treat it like the lottery. While the organization supports a great cause, they lack sufficient planning and strong initial appeal. There is a chance it could still work, but it probably will not. Donors will not just surface on their own.

There are those organizations which succeed in this first step. But over time, their donor base begins to diminish and their ability to influence new donors reduces significantly. So how exactly do you get donors in the door and coming back for more?

Here are a few tips to consider in your fundraising:

Start Off Strong and Tell a Story

Just like a good movie starts off strong, a great direct mail fundraising campaign starts with a compelling appeal letter. And like some movie audiences, there are those who will either fast forward to the end or watch the first 5 minutes and stop. This is why the first touch is so important.

Your appeal letter must inspire further communication and it must also pack a punch. Begin your appeal letter with intrigue. Keep in mind that potential donors may only read the first few paragraphs or scan through the letter and make a decision. You must concisely convey the message in a few short paragraphs and specify your story and call to action.

Inspire Donor Confidence

Sure, there are some movies that start off strong and fail to capitalize on the rest, but your fundraising strategy should not do the same. Some ways to inspire donor stability are to keep the initial inspiration going, and when donors give, respond immediately!

Also take the time to survey your audience. Find ways to ask them if they like how you responded and if there is something that you can do for them in return.

Show Results

A strong donor base is developed when donors know they have made an impact. Show them the results their contributions have made. A great way to communicate their influence is through a newsletter. Donors need to know know that their input was meaningful. They will sense exclusive involvement with your organization.

The key to successful fundraising is to consistently build new relationships with new donors over time. Yet, it is just as important to nurture the ones you already have. A good movie is established through a strong opening which ultimately leads to a high point and resolution. Unlike a movie however, a strong donor base strategy is built with a strong introduction, core, but not necessarily an end! Develop a strong donor communications base that lasts a lifetime! That is true donor development.

Let Infinity Concepts help you develop your fundraising strategy to grow your audience.

Jason Dreistadt

Jason Dreistadt

VP of Creative Services | COO at Infinity Concepts
Jason oversees the design and production of projects as well as manages day-to-day operations.
Jason Dreistadt

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