April 22, 2019

I’ve been spending an embarrassing amount of time watching ABC’s “Shark Tank” recently. But maybe I shouldn’t be ashamed—it’s inherently entertaining television. If you’re unfamiliar, Shark Tank features hopeful entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to a panel of renowned business leaders. Members of the panel can then choose to invest or not invest in the proposed business. It makes for mindless, casual viewing, but for the guests on the show the stakes are high. After all, this is their idea, their brain-child, their life.

At the center of Shark Tank is a pretty simple question: How can entrepreneurs convince the panel to believe in their idea? Or, at the least, how can they convince them that it’s potentially lucrative? It’s a question on the minds of thousands of small businesses, startup tech companies and—yes—nonprofits.

Nonprofit professionals may not be asking for million-dollar investments from the likes of Mark Cuban, but they’re still on a mission to convince the community that their cause is worth something. Almost every nonprofit experiences this, whether they’re applying for grant funding, asking for donations or recruiting board members. People won’t invest their time or money in something they don’t believe in. So, how can you get them to believe?

Be specific

If I’ve learned one thing from watching Shark Tank, it’s that investors want to know in very specific terms the plans for budgeting, expansion, operations—everything. They aren’t willing to fork up thousands, sometimes millions of dollars for a vague business plan. If you’re trying to convince donors to give or volunteers to serve, the same specificity is required.

Here are some important questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • How is your organization funded (donations, grants, earned income, etc.), and how will it be funded in future?
  • How many staff members do you have? What are their roles?
  • What will my donation help you do (again, be as specific as possible)?

Be original (or better than the original)

It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to come up with an idea no one’s thought of before. But in the 21st Century it’s becoming harder and harder to create something completely new—so much has already been tried, successfully or not. If you can find that unoccupied niche for your cause, that’s great! However, you should also consider the way you go about achieving your mission, even if it’s shared by dozens of other organizations. Maybe you’re funded differently, or you allocate that funding differently, or you have a different idealistic approach to your work. Whatever it is, make sure your potential supporters know that you’re going about your work in a unique way.

Put your idea in real terms

It’s no secret that telling stories to communicate your impact is a valuable strategy—stories are essentially the foundation of modern content marketing.

It’s been scientifically proven that reading and hearing stories can increase empathy, so use them to your advantage. Tell your supporters about a child who benefited from your services, or a formerly homeless person who was able to find a job through your work placement program. If you turn your impact into narratives, it becomes real and palpable.

You can tell impact stories a number of ways: in a blog post, newsletter or social media post, or just via word-of-mouth at your fundraisers and throughout the community.

Getting people to believe in anything is hard, and getting people to give their money to something they believe is harder still. But if you’re serious about your cause, you’ll find a way, and these tips will help you get there.

The post How to Make People Believe in Your Cause appeared first on Nonprofit Hub.

February 9, 2019

How to Make People Believe in Your Cause

I’ve been spending an embarrassing amount of time watching ABC’s “Shark Tank” recently. But maybe I shouldn’t be ashamed—it’s inherently entertaining television. If you’re unfamiliar, Shark Tank features hopeful entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to a panel of renowned business leaders. Members of the panel can then choose to invest or not invest in the proposed business. It makes for mindless, casual viewing, but for the guests on the show the stakes are high. After […]
February 6, 2019

How to Market on a Budget

Getting the word out about your nonprofit can be tricky, especially when your funds require you to market on a budget. But fear not—you don’t need a big wallet to get your organization’s name out there. These tips will help you reach more people without breaking the bank. Social media Social media in itself is free to use, but it’s rendered useless if no one’s engaging with your content. If you want to up your […]
February 4, 2019

How to Become a Trusted Voice in Your Field

This article was originally published in Nonprofit Hub Magazine. Not all that long ago, intellectual capital—knowledge of processes and data, informational resources, etc.—was critical to businesses and nonprofits. The people had the knowledge, and knowledge is power. But now, in the apex of technology and automation, a lot of information and processes are controlled by robots, servers or other invisible hands. For the past 60 or so years, and especially since the advent of the […]
February 1, 2019

Introducing: Cause Camp 2019 Speaker Lineup

Cause Camp is just a couple of months away, and we want to introduce you to the unprecedented thought leaders who will be educating and inspiring you along the way. Without further ado, your Cause Camp 2019 speakers and the topics they’ll be presenting in March! Julia Campbell “How to Use Digital Storytelling Strategies for Deeper Donor Engagement”  Julia Campbell has run her digital marketing consulting business for almost a decade, focused exclusively on mission-driven […]