I got a good number of requests to vote for charities in the Chase Community Giving runoff on Facebook. This is the latest of many such challenges by companies to give money to nonprofits that get the most votes.
Ignoring the corporate promotional fanfare, I fear that voting for corporate charity supplants giving by well-intentioned supporters who feel they did their duty by merely casting a vote on a Facebook page. So that, when it comes time to make a cash donation, they’ll feel they’ve already contributed.
Plus, how many of these elections can a charity seek support for, before it becomes too many? Even presidents are elected only every four years. That’s a question for the social media scientists. I suspect it depends on how you ask, who you ask and how well your constituents are engaged with you.
Is your organization participating in the corporate giving votes? Have you measured whether there’s an effect on cash donations?
A recent lunch makes me think about how we all should always be promoting. A vendor colleague asked me to arrange lunch with a mutual client. I have the stronger relationship with the client, so I was happy to do it and our client was obliging.
The other consultant never turned the conversation to how he could be more helpful to our client and how they could do more business together. The client was fully expecting to have that discussion and was open to it. I heard three or four statements from the client that could have been made into openers about expanding business, and I offered one myself. The guy just wasn’t going to promote his business and talk about an expanded relationship, although that was a reason for the lunch. (The other was to say “thank you for your business,” which emerged half-hearted.)
As a professional fundraiser, you should always be promoting your nonprofit. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re on the phone or in person, talking to a donor, prospect, board member, colleague or audience. I hope you work for a nonprofit you’re proud of, and whose good work you want to tell everybody about. You’ll convey enthusiasm about the mission and as your zeal becomes habit, others will want to join you, and expand their relationship with the institution.
It won’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen ever if you ignore opportunities.