Find Your Entry Point to Authentic Donor Connection
How can you find an entry point to authentic donor connection?
In a word: Values.
Defining values can be hard work. It requires a clarity of vision, an unwavering commitment and a healthy dose of courage to idealize an uncertain future.
Then, once they’re defined, values also need some time to settle in. They need to be implemented in real time, beyond the safety of a team brainstorming session. They need to be lived. So, as you can imagine, values in action can be messy, for sure.
But let’s not let any of that deter you! Establishing values are critical and beneficial in many ways. For our purposes now, we’re interested in them for one simple reason:
When you define and communicate your values, you will naturally establish common ground and meaningful dialogue with your donor prospects far better than any generic donation pitch. (You’ll also be able to weed out potential donors who are not aligned and save yourself some time and trouble in the process!)
Now… Action! 🎬
Set the timer for 20 minutes (when you’re ready to go, click here for an online timer at the ready) and grab something to document with (text doc, pen and paper, voice memo – however you take notes).
Start by noting some words that come to mind when you think about:
- Your mission?
- Your programming?
- Your ideals?
- Your truths?
- How you want people that you serve to feel.
- What impact you want to have in the world.
- What you want your organization culture to look like.
Pull out the thesaurus. If you don’t have one handy, there’s one online here. Enter in a few of those words you just came up with and see if anything else resonates. If so, note it down.
Keep this list handy anytime you work on your donor communications, be it an appeal letter, an email, a social media post or an ask. Now, you have some language already to work with!
A few resources if you want to go a little deeper…
- If you’re stuck for ideas, check out this massive list of values that Dr. Brené Brown put together. She also challenges organizations to operationalize their values in her book, Dare to Lead (recommended reading for anyone in our field.)
- Vu Le shares why “…it is time for us all to realize how vital, smart, and sexy Values are” along with tips for using core values.
- Curious about the values we embrace as our touchstones at Open Rivers? Find them here!
If this has been helpful to you, please consider making a donation! Your contribution is deeply appreciated and supports all of the free programming at Open Rivers.