“So What? Who Cares”
When I work with various organizations and ministries, the key reasons that their donors should support who they are and what they do really boil down to two questions: “So what?” and “Who cares?”
1. “So what?”
The core of this question is really another question: “What difference does your ministry make in the world, both today and in the future?” Donors will only want to partner with you if you are, in fact, making some difference. Therefore, someone with a somewhat skeptical perspective might ask you, “Do you really make any difference in this world at all?”
One of my favorite Peter Drucker questions is relevant here: “If your organization didn’t exist today, would there be any reason or relevance to launch it?” This is a tough question to approach with honesty. If you cannot honestly say that you’re making a relative difference today, you need to give serious consideration to winding it down. Of course, the other possible answer is that yes, you are in fact making a significant difference. In that case, you must press on!
2. “Who cares?”
If you, as the director or founder of your ministry, are the only one who cares about what you’re doing, you don’t have a strong case for why others should support your cause. One of the questions that a donor will ask is, “Who’s on board?” or “Who else supports you?” If you have a strong following, that gives tremendous credibility to your cause, and a reason for others to consider coming alongside those who are already on board.
This is important because it gives supporters a sense of shared values, a shared purpose, a shared sense of making a difference, and the opportunity to belong to a community of others just like them. We all need to believe and belong. We need to believe in something greater than ourselves, and perhaps that’s your cause. We also want to belong to a community of other people who are sharing in that cause.
Ministries tend to do a great job of connecting their donors vertically with the cause and the organization, but the real power comes from connecting your donors horizontally with one another. The ministry that steps beyond itself and sees the opportunities to minister to others by connecting donors with each other will grasp the real purpose of any ministry—building community.
“So what? Do I really believe you matter?”
“Who cares? Can I really belong to a community of people like me?”
When you’ve created a space and a place for others to join with you in making a difference, then your case will be stronger than ever.
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