Throughout the country, almost 800 health-related charities seek to educate the general public about specific types of diseases and illnesses, and ensure that the proper amount of awareness is placed on the health concerns that they’re promoting. Naturally, each of these charities relies on donations to achieve its mission, whether that mission is to raise funds for general awareness or for medical research.
If you’re involved with a health-related charity, you may be seeking guidance on how to maximize your efforts to ensure that as many members of your audience as possible contribute to your cause. Particularly when fundraising for a health charity, this means that you’ll need to find the perfect mix of emotion and efficiency.
Emotion Matters In Fundraising
As you can probably imagine, emotion plays a crucial part in gaining support for any charity. Humans are emotional. In fact, believe it or not, every single decision we make comes down to emotional factors.
When neuroscientist Antonio Damasio studied patients who, due to brain damage, were unable to feel emotions, he made a groundbreaking discovery: the patients were completely unable to make decisions, even with their logical-thinking capabilities fully intact.
Emotion should be a crucial part of your fundraising efforts—and that’s especially true for health-related charities. After all, the very reason your charity was established is probably due to an emotional connection. To maximize the success of your charity, communicating that emotion to your audience is absolutely crucial.
Efficiency Should Not Take A Backseat
While emotions should play a core part in your fundraising efforts, you should also make sure that your organization is fundraising efficiently. Prioritizing efficiency in your fundraising means planning ahead, knowing your audience, choosing the specific fundraising methods that best suit your charity and your audience, and evaluating your efforts periodically to ensure success.
How To Combine Emotion And Efficiency
Allow your fundraising campaign to be driven by the emotional connections that you and your audience have to the disease or illness that you are raising money for. It’s authentic, and everyone is willing to listen to a charity that is asking for support with a genuine motive. But at the same time, prioritize efficiency. Combining the two in just the right way is the formula your fundraiser needs to be successful. Here’s how to do it well:
Integrate Stories into your Efforts
The old fundraising adage remains true: people give to people, not marketers. When asking for financial support, especially when promoting a health-related cause, you will be much more successful if you incorporate individual stories into your messaging strategy. Storytelling allows you to explain the need for support, the reason you’re asking for support, and what the potential success would be, should you receive the support you need. A single and personal story of a patient that your charity helps will be more effective than even the most devastating statistics concerning your cause.
Choose the Best Methods for your Needs
Once you’ve found the stories to tell, it’s time to highlight them in the fundraising methods that best suit your needs. You may choose to organize events at which former patients speak on their journey to back to health, in which case you might want to consider event tickets, table talkers, or retractable banners. If your campaign relies on direct mail, personalized letters, brochures, and postcards will be the appropriate avenues to get your message out. Whichever methods fit your needs and your audience, be sure to include your featured patient stories.
As in all marketing, a consistent visual identity is absolutely key when spreading the word about your charity. As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, your charity competes with almost 800 health-related charities in this country alone, and standing out among the crowd is necessary for you to raise the funds you need. That’s why you need to make sure that all of your fundraising efforts, from events and direct mail, to your online presence, should be visually coherent and easy to connect in the minds of your audience.
Take Advantage of Local Connections
Even if your charity reaches beyond county and state borders, don’t underestimate the power of local reach. Your audience will always be more likely to give in support of someone in their neighborhood, rather than someone who lives in an entirely different state. Whenever possible, that means you should tailor your fundraising efforts to individual neighborhoods, including patient success stories and holding events that relate specifically to the local audience. If you are targeting your audience via direct mail or through digital efforts, segmenting your potential donors is a crucial first step to fundraising success.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Feedback
Not everything works right the first go-round. Nobody is perfect, and even the biggest fundraising experts—for charity or otherwise—can direct their efforts toward the wrong audience or methods every now and again. Part of efficient fundraising is evaluating your success. Involve your audience in this by asking questions like, “What can we do better in the future to help patients like Mr. X?” By asking directly, you will receive plenty of responses, as your audience will feel personally involved (and perhaps even responsible) to help you succeed in the future.
Raising funds for a health-related charity is an undoubtedly worthy cause. By emphasizing the emotional connections to this cause without losing focus on efficiency, you can ensure that your efforts are directed in the right place. Using the methods that are most appropriate for you audience means that you will gain the support you need to help the patients you care about.