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Is Fundraising the same as Selling?

December 15, 2015

I recently organized a fundraiser for a friend with breast cancer. What I didn’t realize initially was just how much of my marketing and sales skills would be involved in putting together such an event. The lessons for business have been quite an eye-opener for me.

 

1. I have to ask for what I want.

A fundraiser involves other...people. Yes, people. That means I have to ask people to make donations—ask them to help me. Often in business we act as if we can do it all on our own. I have to ask for the sale. I can’t be concerned about looking bossy or demanding. The only acceptable outcome for this event is success.

 

2. I have to market this mutha like there’s no tomorrow.

This is a one time event. It’s the last fundraiser for my friend before resources are fully exhausted. There’s no tomorrow. If I don’t get buy-in, I can’t redo it. I have to rally the troops around this one day. One day. No do-overs.

 

3. That means I must tell a story.

It’s imperative that I tell the story of why my friend needs financial help. It’s not hard to guess why when something like breast cancer is the topic. However, I still need to trigger emotions of empathy. I have to sell the audience on this story. So, even while it’s a very true story, people still need to hear and experience it. People still need to see a picture of my friend’s bald head from chemotherapy. Without empathy the audience might not show up or give generously without expectation of return.

 

You may think I’m being coarse about something as serious as cancer. I assure you, I am not. My passion runs deep. This cause parallels with what business owners need to do every day (market and sell). It has compelled me to act in ways I hadn’t yet realized for my own business.

 

Your business might not have a story about a life-threatening disease. But you still have a story and it needs to be told in a compelling way. What d

 

rove you to the maddening risks of entrepreneurship? That’s a story. What barriers did you overcome? Why should your customers care? How does your product or service change lives or improve the world?  How will it make people feel? That, my friend, is a story.

 

We may not always feel the urge or passion to make every sale or captivate every client. However, keeping the above tips in mind can help ensure great results at every turn.

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