I have been involved with nonprofits one way or another since I was a freshman in High School. I have worked with some awesome organizations and have had great experiences. From helping tutor refugee children, to working with recovering homeless men at a halfway house in Baltimore; each experience has been unique. Now I am lucky enough to work at WeDidIt, creating fundraising tools and helping nonprofits all over the country crowdfund online.
Something that I realized early on in my volunteering and has definitely be apparent in my role at WeDidIt is that donors are often times as interested in the experience the non-profit creates as the mission that it is undertaking. This is not to say that the experience is more important than the mission or that the two are mutually exclusive, but only that experience weighs heavily in the minds of donors.
Take for example an organization WeDidIt worked with called the Harold Hunter Foundation. HHF gives underprivileged kids the chance to go to Camp Woodward, a state-of-the-art skateboard camp, for a week. But the mission of the organization goes beyond just giving young skateboarders from the inner city a chance at developing their skills at a renown camp. The mission is also to give underprivileged kids the experience of going away to summer camp and all that goes with it; living away from home, meeting new friends, and trying new things.
In our fundraising efforts with HHF we used this incredible experience as a big part of our messaging about the campaign and it was a huge success. As an organization, if you can make a short video like the one HHF made that illustrates the type of life changing experiences that people who come into contact with your organization have, than other people who had never heard of you before will be more interested in donating. It may sound cliche but how people experience an organization is as important to fundraising as the work the organization is doing. The two usually go hand in hand, but its worth remembering as we head into the holiday season that nonprofit work is a special experience that brings people from all walks of life together and the experience goes a long way in helping to raise funds and keep the business side of a nonprofit sustainable.
I ask readers who work or volunteer at nonprofits to find ways to make the experience of the organization more special this holiday season. This could be through throwing a holiday party, making holiday care packages to give supporters, or just simply laughing more and making those around you happy to be involved. However you do it, understand that creating unique experiences and bringing an infectious attitude will pay huge dividends to the continued success of an organization.