It was always challenging to me in fundraising - how to give over a need without sounding ‘needy’ and how to show success, while still showing a shortfall?

Until I came across this fundraising idea - from veteran fundraising coach Lori Jacobwith - which seemed to solve this age old contradiction.

It looked like it had potential, but was it going to work for Jewish leaders in the mosdos Torah world?

Having ‘test’ driven the idea for a good part of a year, it has proven its worth. Try it out and make your own judgement.

It’s called a ‘Money Story’.

It’s a healthy way to talk about money so donors know how to help you.

In fact the more you talk about money, the more you’ll raise. People won’t know what there is for your organization to do unless you share it!

Here’s how it works.

First, introduce the big picture of your organization's funding needs, giving a clear picture of where you’re today in raising what you need to do your work. And what you still need to get the job done.

For example you’ll say...

“We’re focused on closing the gap we have of $1.2M this year. Right now, we’re at the beginning of June and we’ve raised $505,450.”

This gives the context that donors appreciate.

And when they know exactly where you’re at in the big picture, you’ll build trust with your donors.

Next you’ll focus on one specific program you run and make it a ‘People Story’.

“Let me make this real for you. Jenny is twelve years old, lives on the North Shore and goes to public school. She’s one of 70 girls on our after school ‘Bas Mitzvah’ program."

"We take the girls (and their moms) to the Illinois Holocaust Museum, pairing them with a girl their age who perished in the Holocaust."

"Jenny, shared her surprise at being ‘paired’ with Aviva Fabrikant of Lodz, Poland, "She has the same Hebrew name as me" Jenny exclaimed. "She was from where my grandma came from. Her birthday is the same month as my bat mitzvah!”

“My pair” Jenny went on, “never had the chance to have her Bat Mitzvah, I will be having my bat Mitzvah for both of us.”

And now here is your ‘Money Story’...

“This Bas Mitzvah program takes $800 per girl per year. The 'funding gap' we have in the program this year is $43,500. And there’s even a waiting list for next year's program!”

Here’s the key.

The ‘funding gap’ is the clarity you give your donor about where you’re at and where you need to be.

It gets the donor thinking about what they can do to help get you there. With the big picture context you gave at the start, the 'funding gap' for this entire program now becomes something a donor can consider.

Now all that's lacking is the solicitation. How bold you’ll be to ask the donor to close your funding gap is up to you. And when you succeed - don’t forget my cut!

B'Hatzlacha raba raba,

Avraham

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