Do Good ~ Fundraising Works!

“Helping people in need is a good and essential part of my life, a kind of destiny.” – Princess Diana

I believe most people want to ‘do good.’  Indeed, the late, Princess Diana was a role model for all of us to look up to with the countless charities she significantly impacted.  Do Good ~ Fundraising Works! Princess Diana changed the Royal Family and the public’s perception of the British Monarchy.   When asked the question, do you see yourself as queen one day?   Princess Diana’s reply was what helped define her legacy.  “I’d like to be a queen in people’s hearts.”  And that she was!

What is one way for everyday people, volunteers, and nonprofit organizations to make a difference, try fundraising?  However, fundraising needs to link into the overall impact.   Shanna Birky, Product Manager for Classy, states, “Most nonprofits believe fundraising drives impact, but do not realize that impact also drives fundraising.”  Donors want to see real-time results, what is the impact their donation dollars are having on the cause.  Are they making a difference!  

Output & Outcome:

As explained by Ian C. MacMillan and James D. Thompson, authors of Elements of a Logic Model, look at the differences between Output and Outcome.

Inputs – What an organization needs to do its work (facilities, staff, volunteers, grants, etc.)

Activities – The work that is done in the main programs of an organization.  

Outputs – Units of production (number of hours of service delivered, number of clients served, etc.)

Outcomes – What happens to clients or customers (change in people of communities – short, medium and long term).

Impact– Ultimate result of achieving the mission. 

Fundraising organizations need to evaluate when to put the focus on one or the other to drive the best message resulting in the best impact.

An example of a logic model:

  • Your input from a recent fundraising event raised $50,000; this is your ‘do good’ budget.
  • Your nonprofit organization’s primary activity (objective) is to build animal shelters.  
  • Your output of the input and activity is to add a  ‘doggy hotel’ to an existing animal shelter. 
  • The outcome of your output is that more dogs can have housing at the animal shelter.
  • Your impact of these outcomes is more dog lives got saved.

Specific Examples: 

Donors want to know what they are getting for their buck, so be specific.  An example, a local animal shelter is hosting a fundraising event, explain to your donors that a $50.00 donation will buy two 40lb bags of dog food.   Alternatively, a fundraiser for a homeless shelter, a $200 donation will provide meals for 200 homeless people.  

Emotion & Story Telling:

One way to ensure your campaign remains rooted in emotion is to build a narrative that the user experiences as they move through the donation process.   When you tell a story, it’s more likely that visitors will invest emotionally in your campaign (fundraiser) and want to learn more.

In an earlier Influence The Cause Blog we mentioned that donations are driven by emotion.   “We have to remember that donating has been rooted in emotion,” says Shanna, “and replacing the story with facts is not the answer to increasing impact transparency.”  While statistics have their value and are very much needed for nonprofits to give transparency, donators what a story to be told.  


As Influence The Cause explained in the recent blog,  Are Nonprofits in the Dark Age, your donors have a face; they are real people.   Get to know them!   The more information you gather from your donors, the more donation dollars will be generated.  An example, a dog lover would be more likely to donate for the addition of the ‘doggy hotel’ than that of a cat lover.  This engagement strategy will help your donors feel like they’re part of the solution.  

In Summary, when you connect fundraising dollars to impact, you make it easier for potential donors to relate to your work and understand how they can make a difference.  This clarity incites action and helps you raise more money for your cause.  
Do Good ~ Fundraising Works!

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