Growing up in Harlan County, Ky. meant coal mining, which meant one of two things: strip mining or deep mining.
Both my grandfathers and one great-grandfather were deep miners. Pappy Miracle rarely saw much light of day, going down before sunrise and coming out just before the sun edged behind the Appalachian foothills.
The measurable outcome of this labor is tonnage, but that’s only the starting. “Tonnage” is a word included in conversations about Mack truck drivers, “good jobs at the railroad,” issues with weight and scales, and train cars at the tipple.
Tonnage is quantifiable, but the less tangible impact of this work is far more rewarding: Men mine to feed their families. Coal fuels industrial expansion, which fuels the economy. And coal warms cold houses, inexpensively, which is why Dad let my sisters and me run up the thermostat!
The analogy I’m making to Mining Your Mission is this: The story of your nonprofit exists on both a literal, measurable level and on a higher, less quantifiable level. I believe good fundraisers do both.
Here are a couple examples from clients I’ve worked with through Miracle Strategies Fundraising and Marketing:
Through a partnership between the homeless individual and the non-profit agency, homelessness can be ended! This is a quantifiable outcome. It’s the cause for which the organization exists.
Now, add the downstream impact of this work, and you expand your cause to include donors interested in safety, crime prevention, economic sustainability, adult education, addiction intervention, and affordable housing.
Providing Support for the Blind and Low Vision
This agency’s work is easily expressed in numbers of patients, home visits, counseling sessions, summer camp participants, and vision screenings. Numbers prove the work is being done well.
When you add stories – even nameless stories – the impact is far greater. For example, did you know that children’s canes provided at school stay at school, leaving some low-income children without this much-needed device in the evening?
Now include the impact made from a donation for computer software that enlarges text or safety training on how to use a kitchen knife or re-training for guide dogs. Dig deeper to add lifestyle independence, self-confidence, and mainstream integration, and you’ve touched on more issues important to donors.
Insights into How to Mine Your Mission
- Start with tangible, literal outcomes. Prove you’re achieving your core mission.
- Add concrete examples or authentic stories that convey the deeper societal impact of your work.
- In the process, you, yourself, will become more devoted to your work!
Want a professional perspective on your project? Contact Phoenicia.
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