Your story to your donors and prospects is that you provide solutions to resolve these problems or to ease the pain of those you serve. While this may work in many cases, because we are a generous nation and want to help those less fortunate than we, it is not an inspiring message. And if your prospect or donor doesn't perceive your same sense of "something is wrong" then you have probably ended your relationship immediately. Nothing to fix means no need to make a gift.
Fund raising success is much more likely when you create opportunities that focus on the positives of what a gift will do. Stories about the goals, aspirations, possibilities and potential are compelling reasons to support your work. If prospects aren't aware of the problems that underlie your work, try to make the point by using the solution first to illustrate the challenges. "The simple addition of dictionaries for our elementary classrooms will result in children becoming better spellers, readers and writers. We can move from being one of the lowest ranked elementary schools in our district with this relatively inexpensive and yet critical support for our teachers and students." But what we hear is "Our elementary students rank near the bottom of the list of all our district's schools. They regularly fail the spelling, reading and writing tests. We must provide dictionaries to help our teachers fix this situation."
Let your aspirations shine through and you'll be much more successful. None of us needs to hear more about afflictions.
For more tips on endowment education, as well as nonprofit funding, administration and management, subscribe to Endowment Development Institute's Newsletter here.