We have been incredibly blessed at Wanna Pixel, Inc. to work with some amazing nonprofits that are making the world a better place.
For instance, there’s Achieve Hartford!, an organization based in Connecticut that advocates for schools and the children who attend them. There’s End Hunger Connecticut, a statewide anti-hunger and food security organization also based in Connecticut (they make sure those in need of food assistance can and do get it). Then there’s Reach Out and Read, CO., a nonprofit in our very own city of Denver that does the unique and creative work of teaming up with pediatricians to prescribe books to babies and children at wellness checks. (As a #bookworm, this warms my heart.)
This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve worked with organizations who provide open source software for nonprofits (CiviCRM.org), those who assist folks that are vulnerable to the diseases of drug and alcohol addiction (Drug Free PA), and worldwide missions who provide a life-changing message as well as medical assistance in far-away places like Bangladesh (Bangla Ministries Worldwide).
Then there are those companies we like to call social-good companies, like Leland’s Cabins, who recently assisted a special family facing what no family wants to endure—childhood cancer. Leland’s Cabins partnered with the Coleson family’s nonprofit by providing them with a cabin, free of charge, for their F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely On God) camp, created specifically for other parents and children facing the same heart-breaking challenges. Though not technically a nonprofit, Leland’s is using their resources in a compassionate way.
Our part in all of these missions? Do we simply keep our clients’ websites running smoothly, make sure their contact database is clean and up-to-date, create tools for smarter e-mail creation and tracking, and create fundraising pages to ensure ease of donating?
While these kinds of technology solutions are our expertise, at the heart of what we do for our clients is reaching their target audience with a story. Too often, when nonprofits create communications to reach their donors, they are writing about financial need. They compose an email or Tweet knowing how much they need to raise.
What if instead of focusing on their financial need (“Donate now to help us raise $2,000 by tonight!”), nonprofits focused on one or more stories of how their nonprofit has impacted a real human being’s life and welfare?
There are two main characters in every nonprofit’s story: the hero (or the donor) and the achiever (the people or persons the donor will help by giving their resources). The nonprofit might play a very small part in this story in the minds of donors —even though it all wouldn’t happen without them.
This is the real power of an organization. This is the raw emotion that appeals to the compassion in every human heart and, most of all, empowers them to act. After seeing how people respond to different calls to appeal, I’m struck by two things.
- Few people respond to guilt
- Many people respond to empowerment
We might squeeze a few dollars out of someone by telling them they are a rich, privileged person who doesn’t deserve to have what they have in life while others suffer. But we probably won’t gain a life-long friend (think “recurring donations”).
Instead, we should help them to see any wealth, time, talents, connections, or privilege as a blessing—something they were given in order to help others. This is empowerment.
Guilt says, We owe the world. (Maybe we do, but again, think of the emotional impact here.)
Empowerment says, We can change the world.
Another thing about empowerment is that it reaches everyone, not just those who are categorized as rich or privileged. In fact, most people who have made a difference have been those with more heart than resources.
Guilt says, We are letting people suffer.
Empowerment says, We can stop injustice today.
Guilt says, We don’t deserve to have more than others.
Empowerment says, We have a mission, and we can do this together.
So next time you partner with a designer or write an article, think about how you can empower your donors to be world-changers. You’ll get more than a check in return.