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CEO Forum excerpts on - Acquiring, Engaging and Retaining donors.
CEO Forum is a peer to peer learning opportunity for the heads and CEOs of the organizations in the social sector. The CEO forum is initiated and hosted by India Cares Foundation.
India Cares Foundation believes vibrant Civil Society Organisations play a vital role in building a humane society. We pay special attention to income generation; donor relations and leadership development in the social sector. A sector, that constantly builds its capacity and competencies to address the dynamic challenges, is the need of the hour and thus, the solutions must be based on real experiences.
The aim of the CEO forum is to be an opportunity within the sector to be a platform for peer learning between organisations, a space where leaders can share their challenges and seek solutions in an atmosphere of trust , encouragement and learning from experience.
Excerpts on - Acquiring, Engaging and Retaining donors
Recently held CEO Forum in Bangalore on 27th February, 2016 brought about the discussion on acquiring, engaging and retaining individual donors. For bringing these thoughts onto everyone’s plate, a session was facilitated by Anoj Viswanathan, Co-founder, Milaap.
Some of the takeaways/ learnings of the Forum we though can be of use to all:
a) Always focus on stories – Donors do not fund a project. They fund people! It is very important for the organizations to paint an honest picture of the organization’s work and success through a story. These could be stories from the field, about people, and their gratitude. This touches the hearts of the individual donors. More than being interested in the activities of the programs, they are keen to learn about the outcome. They are likely to value the way things are communicated along with the brand. Every story, thus, should have the following 4 elements :
Who are we asking for?
Why are we asking?
What are we asking for?
How will the donation help?
This helps in getting the donors to like the organization’s work and receive fund as well.
b) Be sure of who is conveying the story - A field worker will have the information about the programs being held at the field, but the beneficiaries are the reason why programs run! Thus, capturing beneficiary stories, asking them to talk, taking their video testimonies, holds a lot more power than any third person’s views. This attracts the donors and keeps them stuck at the honest work and real life change which they wish to see. With individual donors, it is never about getting their funds at the first place! It is about getting them interested in the cause.
c) Communication collaterals - Annual reports and newsletters are the two major communication collaterals which gets an organization its brand value and inspire donors to contribute and support at larger levels. Newsletters on one hand contains stories and testimonies. Annual Reports on the other hand has numeric content on the achievement of the organization. High Net-worth Individuals look for Annual reports to get concise and simpler information. Detailed financial statements are essential but if not explained in simple language and terminology will not engage a donor. Therefore, summarising financial information in the following way will have far greater engagement.
d) Online and offline engagements - Social media is the most loved medium of reaching out the networks of donors! The testimonies, stories, videos which the organizations make for donors can be easily circulated to market the brand and share the donor’s experience. Donors, if , are ready to tweet about the work and experience as a donor, nothing like it! This increases the reach of the organization and often adds to the goodwill of both the donors as well as the organization. Offline engagements also adds on to the experience of the donors and gets them to understand the work at the field. Having volunteering activities arranged for them adds on to the brand building and sustainable donor support to the organization.
Having spread across 4 cities in India, namely, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai, we at India Cares have learnt that ‘learning from peers is the best way to gain mastery!’
Watch this space to know other learnings.
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