Cause Envy

So you think your cause is hard to fundraise for?! You're damned right; 75% of people will say no to you. Those are the success statistics across the board. 

What surprises every fundraiser I coach is that every other fundraiser thinks their cause is hard to fundraise for too. And more surprising than that, that other fundraisers are envious of some of the aspects of their cause. 

The reason you think other causes would be easier to fundraise for is simple: 75% of your asks end in a fail; people who say ‘no’ need a reason to not give you money; and most of them will hit upon the same shortlist of shortcomings. These then take on a status (in your mind) as the barrier between you and unlimited success. 

It might be a boost to hear what gives people ‘Cause Envy’ for your cause:

You're small and unheard of: think of all your colleagues at huge charities getting told 'you've got loads of money. We only support small causes who can't get the support you can.' You're lean, agile and focused.

You're big and famous: people know what you do and trust you as a brand, you have a powerful track record and you're reliable.

You're an arts charity that can't pull on heart strings: think how much your sad-faced-adverts-on-the-tube colleagues would love to have the customers, members and visitors you have! The sheer footfall of flocking visitors; people voting with their feet to tell you that they like what you do.

The govt should pay: this might be the one silver lining of austerity. Nobody can believe that specialist care for vulnerable people or niche medical research will be bank rolled by govt or the NHS anymore. 

What can we learn? Don't get hung up on what you don't have, work out what others envy about your cause and maximise it. And when people say no, use their reasoning to reframe it for the next donor - what's powerful about what they see as your weakness?

I’d love to hear your ‘grass is greener’ stories!

Ilana Jackman is a Fundraising Coach & Consultant. She is always happy to have a call or a coffee about how to unleash your fundraising success. Check out more blogs here or on her LinkedIn profile.

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