Over the past week, we’ve shared key strategy, tactics, and resources that you must address to greatly impact your revenue in 2019. We’ve discussed a few of the ways leaders can shift from a reactive to strategically proactive mindset to help donors truly understand their role in your funding structure and mission. And then in part two of this blog series, we shared what it means for your fund development team to work in a disciplined rhythm to support growth plans and initiatives.

Finally, in this last post, we’re looking at how our donor-facing brand and messaging affirms expertise and excellence to our donors in order to support effective development efforts. We’ll also dig into how you can use these tools to set your organization apart from your competition.

Competition (n): the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms

At the root of all donor development and for every level of the constituency, the organization must remember that donors want to give to an organization that serves their interests. This is why they participate in your mission vs. others’. Donors will give their best gift once you’ve meticulously created a satisfying donor experience for them—and when they’ve been spoken to from their point of view (as opposed to the organization’s point of view).

Right now, there are probably dozens of other wonderful nonprofits in America that your donors could give to, with a mission that is somewhat similar to yours. This is why communication with various constituency groups, branding the organization, and sending a message of expertise to the entire constituency are important objectives of an effective communications and development effort. You must set yourselves apart from the competition—yes, even in the nonprofit realm.

What does this mean? All print and digital materials need to convey what a donor’s investment in the organization can do. And while frugality is always appreciated, within the competitive environment of charitable funding, organizations must compete at a visual level that attracts support. It reinforces your intentionality, your commitment to excellence, and ultimately helps larger donors take you and your inspiring mission seriously. In this day and age, every organization needs to invest in professional graphics and visuals that elevate the brand identity and overall collateral interaction up to a level of modern attractiveness and mission appropriateness.

If a donor experiences visual inconsistencies and overly casual outputs, they may quickly wonder if they can trust the organization's ability to tackle its cause.

Committing to investing in your brand is an open door to set yourselves apart from the competition. If the majority of your donors’ gifts are small, it is understood that gifts are given with no strings attached or expectation of return on investment. But, as your organization grows, and donors are asked to make larger investments, their expectations will increase proportionately.

How about you? Are you exceeding your donors’ expectations at every step, making them sit up and take notice? Is there a cohesive donor-facing development tone and look throughout all your tools that sets you apart from your competition? Do your current visuals tie the donor’s heart to the heart of your mission? Push into these activities and create an experience for your donors that they will never forget.

If the concepts in this three-part blog series have led you to believe you might need a tune up to help you grow your organization’s funding, we invite you to fill out this free 10-point donor scorecard to ensure you’re positioned to grow in 2019! All you have to do is fill it out, and you will get a custom response from our donor development strategist with your top three recommended next steps! What do you have to lose (besides possible funds)? ;)

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