One of the most thrilling experiences donors describe is being a part of the important work performed by scientists and researchers. Seeing their enthusiasm and learning about the impact research and treatment can have has proven to be a winning combination for many donors.
One result of this trend is that researchers and doctors are putting an increased focus on how to share their work with donors. Those most successful in philanthropy often have strategies for how to explain their work. But conversations with donors can reveal even more insights into the information important to them when considering philanthropic opportunities. Consider the perspective of this donor who explains why he supports international clubfoot treatment:
We’re funding a gentleman, a doctor, who goes into countries of the world and trains [health care workers] on how to solve the clubfoot…without an operation. It’s all done by manipulation, and it’s fascinating.
The interesting thing is that the gentleman who actually founded the method died, and this fellow found his papers and asked the family whether he could continue doing the good work and they said yes, and he’s gone off and done it.
Now you think, well, so what? But if you’re in downtown Bangladesh and you have clubfoot, you’re kicked out of the family. There’s an economic problem. You can’t go to school. You’re picked on by a whole bunch of people. Nine times out of ten you can’t get a job.
Now, can you just imagine the young kid suddenly being able to walk and not being on the outside of the circle? Being on the inside of the circle? Don’t you think that’ll make you feel pretty good?
Notice the donor’s initial explanation. He describes the science without fanfare, explaining that it works, and that he is confident in the credibility and efficacy of the work he is funding.
But then his focus changes, and he reveals his deepest motivation for giving.
By placing himself in the position of those who suffer from clubfoot, he can imagine the total reversal of fortunes that is possible when the condition can be cured using non-costly, non-invasive treatments.
From this information, we can see that the individual impact of clubfoot treatment is what matters most to this donor. He describes a problem on a personal level, and then envisions a promise for a future when the problem is solved. His explanation is succinct, societally relevant, and emotionally compelling.
This kind of description is not unusual; in fact, it is a prime example of the type of information donors are interested in learning about the work they support.
Do your physicians, researchers, and scientists share information about their important work in a way that inspires donors?