Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
More money is being spent on killing babies by abortion than on saving them, and it’s up to the pro-life movement to turn that around. Yet all of us struggle with how to do that. This is the second part of a series to offer some recommendations about pro-life fundraising which we have found helpful at Priests for Life.
• You don’t own your donors – Some approach the acquisition of donors like the acquisition of a spouse, thinking that if the donor is “mine,” he or she cannot also be someone else’s. But we neither marry nor own our donors. Instead, a donor should be thought of as a friend. It is both normal and expected that your friends will have other friends. It is also understood that you can’t take friendship for granted. You have to nurture the relationship, and you need to have a give and take, paying attention to the donors’ needs just as you want them to pay attention to yours.
• People respond to service – There are many techniques about how to write a fundraising letter, how often to mail it, how to get people to open it, and what to do when people do and do not respond. These techniques should be studied and practiced, because they work. Yet there is one thing we need to do that will multiply powerfully any results from these special techniques. In a sense, it is the foundational fundraising technique: Provide a quality product.
A product may be a physical item, or information, or a service. Whatever it is, make it of the highest professional quality. Pay attention to the needs, desires, and patterns of response of the people you serve. Be available to them, and they will be generous to you and your organization.
• Communicate a vision, not just a need – While we should state our needs honestly, the core of asking for money is not simply saying that we need it, but rather presenting a vision that you want the donor to grasp and be part of bringing to fulfillment. The excitement and promise of that vision will elicit generosity.
• Remind people of the God of Generosity – Scripture is clear that those who do God’s work should be supported not only spiritually but materially. Scripture is also clear that one of God’s clearest traits is generosity, and that the people who strive to be like God should likewise be generous. Leaders, therefore, should call them to generosity, not simply so that the work can be supported, but so that the donors can fulfill a key aspect of their call to spiritual growth.
• Trust mightily in Providence – When I invited Mother Teresa to an event I planned, I was speaking to her about the financial needs connected with it. She urged me to trust God’s Providence, and said, “God has lots of money.” Foster that confidence within your heart, and then ask God to share some of that money with you through your donors!