Authenticity Is A No-Brainer in Fundraising
Recently, while out and about with my Mom, we decided that an ice cream shake sounded like a good idea. Traveling through a small town in Kansas, there didn’t appear to be many options. We came up on a Sonic Drive In and pulled in to place our order in the Drive Thru.
When we got to the window a young man leaned out and said, “Hello, my name is Nathan and I’ll be filling your order tonight. How’re y’all doin’?” As he handed out our ice cream shakes, he continued to ask if we needed anything else.
“Need more napkins? Do you want an ice water?”
I handed him our payment and drove away. I couldn’t help but notice that I felt a little guilty. There was a game being played and no one told me the rules. Was I supposed to tip him? Why did he tell me his name? What’s the deal?
Any time your actions make someone feel uneasy, you probably lose their trust. (Click to tweet)
I believe I can tell when someone is inauthentic and when they’re genuine, can’t you? It was the inauthentic way that I felt in that moment while getting ice cream. Was I supposed to care about Nathan? Was this method of introducing himself meant to be like in a high-end restaurant when the person “taking care of you” and serving your meal makes their introduction?
As with most of my experiences, I related it to how we talk with potential funders. Are we trying to be something we’re not? Do we only share the good news and keep them in the dark about our struggles?
Consider the open, honest, straight-forward approach when talking to donors…in all of your communications.
It’s never bad to be authentic and to show the wholeness of your organization; show where you’ve had great success AND where you’ve fallen short. Life is one giant experiment and sometimes things don’t go as planned. Share these things and what you’ve learned from it and you’ll gain the trust, (and donations), from those that care about your mission.