Non-Profit Pride: The Value of Belief in Your Institution and Mission

16 05 2012

How passionate are your volunteers and donors?  This week I had the good fortune to be sitting with friends in Prague when I spied a young woman wearing a Mizzou shirt and pointed it out to a friend with Missouri connections.  He shouted out “M-I-Z” and without hesitation, the group of young ladies responded Z-O-U! It is that pride that we later hope inspires alumni and friends to support their alma mater. While this pride is not unique, it is admirable.

Donors and friends of other organizations carry that same pride. If patients feel good about the hospital they frequent, they will gladly associate themselves with it. There is a strong sense of pride that they chose an excellent organization to secure their health care, often demonstrated by their giving as a grateful patient or volunteering their time. This sense of pride is also exhibited by many membership organizations.  Members display window clings on their cars, wear the public radio sweatshirt, or use other visible memorabilia.

This sense of pride is also tied to mission – I have seen donors proudly talk about what their non-profit has accomplished.  This often is demonstrated by their citing tangible outcomes: children fed, patients served, achievements of alumni. We don’t all have shiny new buildings or the newest building – but what we do have is results that we can share and have our friends want to be our champions and our donors. Pride and belief equals financial support!

Give yourself a pride checkup:

1)      Is your constituency proud to say they are affiliated with you?

2)      Do donors and volunteers have critically important information that is proof of you fulfilling your mission?

3)      Are you presenting meaningful opportunities for your constituents to identify themselves as part of your community and organization?

If the answer to any of the above is no, then you should plan to strengthen your constituent engagement. Those engagements can be newsletters, social media, and a wide range of personal contact – particularly donor visits.   That same pride that instantly welled up in those young ladies to identify with their school is the same pride we as fundraisers depend upon to encourage donors to support their schools, hospitals, and museums.

I hope if someone shouts out to your donors — they will enthusiastically shout back “That’s me!”.

Good Luck!

Mark J. Marshall




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