Time – Is There Enough to Care?

By BKV in Non-Profit on August 3rd, 2010

Time...it's been on my mind a lot lately. Or should I say the lack of time has been on my mind.

• Time to get everything done on my work "to do" list
• Time to spend with family and loved ones
• Time to exercise
• Time to [dare I say] write this blog!
• Time to reflect... to enjoy... just to "be".

I'm finding myself with too little time...and I know that I'm not alone. 

Many of my colleagues and friends, young and not-so-young, find themselves in the same time crunch. Corporate and non-profit belt-tightening has everyone doing more with less. This means more hours at the office, or at home online. (Who hasn't used their laptop to multi-task while watching TV and answering email?)

Add the fact that information is exploding. Whether it's an email, a video, an IM, a text message - or even your mailbox, there isn't enough time to absorb the thousands of messages we see each day.

So -- other than having one big whine fest, why should we care about how busy we all are?

Because we're marketers and fundraisers. And we have to get our target's attention which means stealing a few precious minutes of their time. Or frankly our work matters very little.
In the non-profit world, getting a prospect or donor's attention means getting them to care.

• Care enough to be concerned about our cause
• Care enough to believe that together we can change
• And care enough to do something about it

Simply put, that's our job as fundraisers. Whether you're on the non-profit side, or the agency side, we have to step back from whatever we're working on, be that a fundraising letter, major donor proposal or special event, and ask ourselves "Would someone care?"

The keys to making someone take the time to care are three-fold:

1. Make it relevant to them. Be donor focused, not organizationally focused. In other words, get out of the way of the pure message.
2. Make it emotional. Decisions are made by the heart and rationalized by the brain. Less can be more. Choose words and photos carefully.
3. Make it easy to act. Remove barriers to action. Give them multiple ways to respond quickly.

Oops...out of time. Gotta run. I've got to re-read that copy deck and make sure it will make somebody care. Good luck!