Guest post from GlobalGiving Field Intern, Meg Dallett.
Hi, everyone—my name is Meg Dallett, and this summer I spent two months visiting GlobalGiving partner organizations and holding online fundraising workshops in beautiful Cameroon. My colleague and I saw some amazing work being done, but also a lot of unused potential in the area of fundraising, which is why I’m writing this blog post. In a lot of cases, organizations based in the US, Europe and other developed countries have truly incredible teams working on projects overseas, but those Western organizations often miss a real opportunity by leaving local teams out of the fundraising process.
In all our workshops and fundraising strategy sessions in Cameroon, one of the most important things we talked about is the power of stories and photos. Donors are more likely to give to an organization when they feel a connection to those they are helping. The most effective way to make potential donors feel connected to the people your organization helps is to send information about people rather than numbers. For example, you may want to introduce donors to a woman who can now afford to send her children to school because of your program, or to tell themabout a little girl that you helped escape from slavery. You can share these stories from the field using GlobalGiving’s project reports – the project reports are a great tool for you to use to update your donors!
The staff that you have working in the field may be in the best position to find compelling stories and take great photos. There might only be one assistant who can encourage a boy to talk about what he went through, or one coordinator who knows the details of an entrepreneur’s success. If you don’t get your whole team actively involved in your fundraising strategy, you could be missing out on opportunities to tell donors about your achievements!
We met with several staff members in Cameroon who had great ideas for fundraising, but they weren’t being given the opportunity to share them. Some didn’t even realize their US-based offices were doing online fundraising at all. One country director had been sending lists of statistics and achievements to her US-based fundraisers for GlobalGiving project reports, never realizing they would be sent to donors across America. As soon as we explained the purpose of project reports, she realized she needed to completely change her writing style and began brainstorming creative ways to get the kids at her school in touch with donors!
If you’re using social media, we really recommend that you make your local teams a part of the conversation. They can share experiences or funny stories on your Facebook page, or discuss challenges on Twitter. The more people you have online engaging communities and talking about problems and successes, the more likely it is one of those discussions will be shared and forwarded. Remember, you’re building a network of people who care about the work that you do!
With thousands of projects on GlobalGiving (and across the web) all trying to attract donors, creativity is the key to success. There are so many creative people on in-country teams—don’t let their ideas go to waste!