Mission Matters

By: Meggan Arp, Marketing Coordinator

Recently, I had the privilege of helping to coordinate a panel entitled, “The Donor’s Perspective,” for the Junior League of Atlanta’s Leadership Institute’s Advanced Fundraising Certificate Course.

Our panelists were donors from the corporate, foundation, and private sectors who shared their experiences and knowledge about what ultimately motivates donors to give.  And, despite their diverse backgrounds, they all agreed that an alignment of an organization’s mission with that of the corporation, foundation, or individual is essential to driving donations.

Wendy Lewis, Marketing Manager at Spanx, shared that a nonprofit dedicated to women-specific issues likely would have more success in receiving corporate sponsorships from Spanx than an organization dedicated to other causes, especially if the case were made that directly aligned this mission with a particular product produced by the corporation.  Another panelist shared that she donates all of her philanthropic resources to the children’s hospital that helped save the life of her child because this organization resonates with her on a profoundly personal level.

Of course, donors give for a variety of other reasons, such as tax deductions, religious reasons, and for social cache.  However, if we, as development professionals, can make the case that unifies the mission of our organization with the missions of our prospects, we will be more successful in converting supporters into donors.

This is why the case summary is critical.  If we tell the story of our organization, why it needs the financial resources of donors, and how it plans to use their resources in a compelling manner that resonates with the hearts of the prospect, we will find that we are more successful in our cultivation efforts.  Because, ultimately, mission matters.