You and We

 

It’s an interesting word, “we.”  In many ways it is inclusive:  This group including me.  But in others—particularly in a fundraising world—it can also be divisive:  You will support us, and we, the organization, will do all the important work.

Because fundraising is all about relationships, it’s critical that you as the fundraising Togetherprofessional use your words carefully.  This is especially important when you are writing, be it an informal email, a formal letter, a printed piece of collateral materials.  Be careful of the you/we divide.  Sometimes it just takes a single additional word.

Consider:
We are proud of the work we do to help our community flourish.  Through your generosity, we will build….

You give; we do the work.

Now just add the word “together” after the comma that follows generosity and you have changed the meaning to include the donor in your work.

If you realize, oops, this is our message, don’t feel badly.  For years, I recommended that my clients send a second thank you letter some months after a gift was received and connect the dots by writing, “Because of you, we have been able to….” and then tell them something your organization has done.

Now, however, I think I missed a big point.  While connecting those dots and letting donors know how their money has made a difference, I think the message should be, Because of your partnership, we—together—have been able to….

IN other words, embrace your donors and make sure that they know they are one with you and we most definitely includes them

 

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About janetlevineconsulting

For over 20 years, Janet Levine has worked for and with nonprofit and educational organizations, helping to grow their advancement programs. Her consulting company, Janet Levine Consulting, serves a wide range of organizations from small, all-volunteer agencies to major national organizations. She regularly teaches courses in non-profit management, fundraising and grant development, both face-to-face and online at http://courses.lmlearningstation.com/. In addition to her nonprofit work, Janet brings years of experience as a business and sales manager in the for-profit sector. She has an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.
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