Jacqui Groseth, VP Client Development  ●  6/6/2018

Rescue Mission Fundraising: How to Succeed in Today's World

Rescue missions today aren't the same as they were 20 years ago.

Your organization provides a variety of programs and services in addition to housing. Donors, and their motivations, are different. The causes of homelessness have expanded. You may be facing internal challenges when trying to introduce new ideas into your fundraising program. Know that your rescue mission can grow in this new environment. Here are three fundraising tactics you can implement immediately to succeed in today's world.

3 Fundraising Tactics for Today's Rescue Missions

  1. Tell the whole story whenever possible. Even when you need money for meals, that doesn’t keep you from saying more in your direct mail appeals, thank you notes, digital correspondence, and video updates. Through the power of storytelling, give your donor a front row seat to the life-transforming work that happens at your mission every day because of them. Think of it like catching up with a friend. Besides talking about the number of people served at your Mothers Day brunch, make sure your donors know about the mom that was overcome with emotion because she had never been celebrated on Mothers Day before.
  2. Be aware of what’s happening in the media in your community. If the news is talking about an issue that plagues the people you serve, you should be, too, especially with your higher-end, multi-year donors. Not in lieu of the other needs your mission has, but it addition to. The goal is to expand the conversation, not change it. This is a great way to come up with fundraising offers your community will care about.
  3. Give the donor options and let them decide what they want to give to. This works extremely well at major donor events and larger project campaigns. Giving programmatic options such as women and children, men, emergency, jobs and education, or church engagement is a great way to enlarge the conversation and understanding of all that God is doing under your roof. And always remember to have the dollars needed reflect the need. This is a way to increase giving because you are asking for something that costs more than the typical meal offer. And always include the most important (and most often chosen) option. Where giving is needed most! You’d be surprised how many of your donors want to do what’s best for the mission. We just need to give them that opportunity.

One of the many things I love about my job as VP of Client Development at TrueSense Marketing is getting to spend time with rescue mission leaders around the country. Many are relationships that go back for close to 20 years, so the conversation typically starts out much the same as it would at any family reunion: How are your kids? What’s new with your spouse? What’s God doing in your life? Once we’ve caught up on the personal stuff, the conversation turns to fundraising.

The fundraising topics discussed are as varied and unique as the mission I happen to be visiting. But there are a few common threads running through each conversation:

  • The gap between the programs and services rescue missions are providing and the programs and services featured in direct response marketing campaigns is getting wider every day.
  • The public’s awareness of the issues surrounding the growing number of people experiencing homelessness is at an all-time high.
  • The tension between the unknown results of trying different offers/approaches vs. the known, albeit faltering, results of using the same offers/approaches that have been used for over 20 years is real.
  • The need for strategy, collaboration, and LISTENING is great.

That’s where TrueSense Marketing comes in. We’d like to help you expand the conversation with your donors and prospects in a way that minimizes risk to your ministry and maximizes the learning gained by working together. 

We’re ready to listen to your ideas and hear more about the offers you would like to have vetted in the market. Because that’s just what we plan to do: strategically test offers designed to bring more heroic donors onto your file with the desire and capacity to sustain the work you are called to do in your community.

For more information about testing your fundraising offer ideas, email Jacqui Groseth, VP of Client Development at TrueSense Marketing.


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