Challenges for Charitable Organizations

Storytelling_nonprofit_fundraiserThe nonprofit sector is meanwhile employing
10 % of Americans. That is great news. But the charitable giving market is also becoming more difficult and competitive.

In addition to traditional competitors corporations with their huge marketing budgets are entering the market. The lines between nonprofit and for-profit (for instance Amazon Smile) are blurred.

At the same time, the number of donors is decreasing. Fewer than 5 % of donors are giving more than 95 % of the charitable gifts.

It is expected that the number of donors will further decrease (consolidation of wealth) so that the competition will become even more fierce. Crowdfunding sites add to the problem that the middle-class will be even harder to reach in the future.

A few sources claim that the donor retention is as low as 20%.

Some of the biggest challenges we are hearing about are

  • high turnover rate of nonprofit employees
  • number of nonprofits that are underfunding their missions increases

I would love to share how we help the charitable gifting market to address the turnover rate and the number of nonprofits underfunding their missions. 

Nonprofit Employee Success and Turnover

Charitable organizations have recognized the problem. New bonus offerings, motivational programs, and other incentives are some of the tools they are implementing to keep their employees from leaving.

The problem of underfunded missions and high employee turnover go hand in hand. Incentives are not enough to motivate a person that is not successful. They need a framework that enables them to build instant trust and implement the techniques of the top-performing nonprofits.

To increase donor retention, the ability to create trust and connection is crucial. Therefore, the best incentive for an underperforming nonprofit employee is to provide him with training. “Soft skills cannot be trained” you might say. That was true until a few years back.

Lack of talent is not the problem – lack of training is.

Storytelling the new and old trend?

Some call it “back to the basics”; some call it a new trend. Fact is that the personal connectedness, social media, and other distractions make competing for the attention of a potential donor harder. The attention span is shorter than ever before.

Storytelling is an effective tool for building trust and creating an instant connection.

Donor-centric approach

We have established that storytelling can be a powerful framework for connecting with donors and building trust. For that, the story has to follow a certain structure.

With more players competing for fewer donors the ability to connect will decide whom the donor grants his trust.

In my personal opinion, the term “donor-centric” is often misunderstood.

Telling an emotional story is not donor-centric. The only time when storytelling is truly donor-centric is when the story is being told with the intention of seeking understanding (the story) of the donor.

Story tending is the true art of successful influencers. It´s all about how you share a story to hear a story and tend a story. Empathic listening skills are necessary to truly understand how a donor ticks.

Until you know the donor´s story everything you do is egocentric and guesswork.

How Story Seekers® helps nonprofits

A quick word about Story Seekers® upfront:

Story Seekers® was created by legendary Sales and People Trainer Mike Bosworth (Solution Selling®, Customer Centric Selling®). The problem he was facing as a sales and people trainer in the 90ties was that 80 % of the total sales was made by 20 % of the salespeople.

He developed a program, Solution Selling®, that was supposed to help the bottom 80 %. A few years later, to his dismay, he realized that Solution Selling did not help them. It just made the top 20 % even better. How could that be? Did they not follow his system?

When he met a young sales lady in one of his classes who was 100 % free of any business expertise and sales skills, he could not believe how well she was doing. She was outperforming her skilled and experienced colleagues.

He accompanied her to one of her presentations and witnessed that she was more listening than talking. Mike knew he was up to something and kept investigating until he found the pattern of what great salespeople are doing.

Great salespeople are empathic listeners, able to create instant connection and trust.

Mike created the first soft-skills training that taught nonprofits, salespeople and other people what great salespeople do.

Story Seekers for nonprofits

  • increases donor retention by enabling employees to create and maintain trust 
  • teaches empathic listening skills 
  • less employee turnover, higher satisfaction and mission success
  • decreased the cost of winning a new donor
  • create powerful fundraiser stories
Do you want to learn more about how Story Seekers® can serve you? Call 224.888.1488, email or request a brochure.