Fundraising campaigns can be tricky. Many of our nonprofit clients will struggle to answer the question: “How can we convey ourselves accurately and engagingly enough to convince someone to part with their hard-earned cash?” After all, the nonprofit space operates on a deep and complex level that requires a nuanced understanding of problem areas and populations. These agencies provide a targeted network of services and support to address society’s most entrenched problems -- with often the most limited resources. Being able to communicate the extent and gravity of what your organization can accomplish (whether it be providing hope where it was previously lost, a renewed opportunity, protection and advocacy for those oppressed) is simply hard to do succinctly and effectively.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this abstract concept of success lately. What does it mean to lead a “successful” existence and where does my own happiness fit in?
As a small business owner, perspective is sometimes hard to come by. Much of 6162’s day-to-day grind occurs in a vacuum without many opportunities for relational feedback from outside my own bubble. Being constantly on the grind also tends to make you see the world in competitive, zero-sum terms. As a result, I am constantly measuring myself against my peers and capitalizing on every opportunity to demonstrate my own inferiority: “Oh, Joe just made an amazing national commercial for this top ad agency!”; “Jeeze, Molly started her own marketing firm but has much bigger clients.”; “My high school friend has over a million subscribers on his YouTube page!”
Clearly none of this thought process is constructive, and yet I can’t help myself from playing this “grass is greener” game nearly every chance I get. Maybe it’s not human nature, but it’s definitely a quirk of our current social moment to qualify success exclusively by direct comparison. As these mental gymnastics are enabled and amplified by social media I’m sure you can see the downside. Rarely do we stop and just look inward at our own lives and see what we currently have. I just wonder… when will the chase end and the feeling of true accomplishment set in?
Well, what’s interesting is when I talk more deeply to these friends who scored the high roller clients and internet-famous prestige, I get a suspiciously familiar story in return. I’m surprised to hear that these people I deeply respect and admire are envious because I’m working on projects that make a difference. Or they lament how bothersome working within the bureaucracy of large clients is. Or even the guy with the bevvy of Youtube fans is trying to make ends meet. So wait… these people I’m drooling over – hell, obsessing over – still don’t feel like they’re successful?!
The more I have these heart-to-heart conversations, the more I realize that success is naturally tricky. How do I know I have achieved it? Theoretically there is no point where I can’t pursue more: more clients, more friends, more money… More. More. More. It’s pretty freaking maddening after awhile!
At the end of the day, I am embracing the idea that we are all just doing the best we can. When we are able to come together in vulnerability we will see that every version of work and achievement comes with its moments of self-doubt. There is no winner’s circle that comes at the natural conclusion of my life’s work. There is no single hurdle that I will clear forevermore designating me “successful.” I’d argue that I am successful when I am happy. Happy in the way I recognize how fortunate I am to lead a comfortable life while helping our clients to do genuine good in the world. Happy when I feel fulfilled by and truly engaged in my work. It feels so obvious as I type it yet I’m still hankering to peek over on my Facebook feed to see what everyone else is up to.
Obviously I’ve yet to figure out the silver bullet, but I think just taking a few breaths and taking credit for your life can go a long way. I’ve been trying to make a point to ask myself every day: “Am I happy?” So I challenge each of you reading this to think about what success truly means to you and at the end of it all… are you happy?
I would like to posit that there is an interesting confluence of opposing events happening:
1. Our collective assessment of world is rapidly approaching dumpster fire status.
2. Driven by a sense of rampant futility (see #1), people are seeking out areas and experiences where something good is actually happening.
It’s clear that marketers are starting to recognize this trend as they try to attach their brands to larger social missions. The flurry of feel-good commercials that ran in the most recent Super Bowl (a fairly accurate example of where we are at any given cultural moment) is a helpful case study.
It’s no secret that video is quickly becoming the most prominent form of communication on the internet. In fact, a recent report by Cisco predicts that by 2021, ONE MILLION minutes of video content will cross the network per second!
Non-profits can, and should, capitalize on this trend when it comes to fundraising videos. Story-driven content is an incredibly effective way to compel your audience without bogging them down with too many facts or statistics. Here’s a general outline that will help maximize viewer impact by creating cogent, engaging content.
How to inspire your donor base with Emotionally Engaging Content
We’ve all seen sleek info graphics presenting incredible statistics about a hot topic. But sometimes numbers can’t tell the whole story, especially when it comes to nonprofits. These organizations are chalk-full of emotionally engaging content that is not easily communicated through info graphics, no matter how creative the color scheme is. This is particularly true when you are trying to create a fundraising video that reaches the audience on a deeper level, a video that endures beyond the event it premieres at. So how do you come up with a story that will connect to the donor base and inspire them to give, without inundating them with bar graphs?
Did you know that nearly one-third of annual giving occurs in that last three months of the year? Global campaigns like #GivingTuesday (which follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday), are great platforms for nonprofits to reach a wide donor audience. #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by social media. Nearly 2.4 million social engagements helped raise funds, boost awareness and increase volunteerism. The average donation to an online campaign was $107 last year, resulting in an estimated $177 MILLION dollars raised!
It’s no secret that video makes up a HUGE part of internet traffic. Nonprofits of all sizes are starting to see the power of any type of video in drumming up awareness and giving. These videos don’t have to be fancy or complicated, and they don’t have to take up your entire operating budget. In fact, much of the technology you need to create a great video is probably already in your pocket!
That’s right: let’s talk about your phone. We’ve had a few clients who decided that in order to create great videos, they needed to buy the most expensive equipment. The idea is that purchasing a big, fancy camera would lead to a big, fancy video, right? WRONG.