Have you ever bought a car? A TV? A pair of running shoes? Whatever you are shopping for, when you are considering a purchase, you want to talk with someone who knows what they are talking about.
The same is true in charitable giving. When a donor engages with a ministry or nonprofit, they expect the fundraiser to be knowledgeable. At The Signatry, we recommend you work toward becoming a subject matter expert, an authority, to aid donors in their generosity journey.
In their book, Authority Marketing, Adam Witty and Rusty Shelton say, “The single most valuable benefit to becoming an authority is accelerating the speed of trust.” Thought leaders should have something of value to share or teach.
Three Key Areas of Expertise
As a ministry or nonprofit leader, it is important to be a subject matter expert in three key areas.
- What is happening in your cause area? What are the trends, changes and models that exist? What is working and not working? Any new initiatives, strategies, or collaborations? Subscribe to industry reports, newsletters, and other ministries. Take some time to give donors a big picture understanding of the work to be done.
- How does your ministry solve the problem? What unique tactics or techniques do you engage? What is the scope and impact of your work? What obstacles are you facing, and how are you finding solutions? What is the big vision or goal you are working toward? If money were not an object, what would you do to have a greater impact in the cause?
- Charitable Giving. What are the trends in charitable giving? How has that impacted your work? What tools are available to donors? Be sure to share giving opportunities and creative giving solutions such as material goods, assets like stocks, real estate and business interest, retirement accounts, etc. Know what donors can do and have an expert in the field to assist if they are interested in learning more.
As you grow in your expertise and authority in these three areas, you position yourself differently in the mind of a donor. You are also adding value to the relationship and becoming a resource for information, insight, and knowledge. As you build trust, you can grow into a trusted consultant, not just an option for charitable giving.
Taking the Next Step
Which one of the three areas is the one you should focus on the most to begin your place of expertise? Since we are in 4th quarter, I recommend you start with charitable giving. Learn more about giving tools and opportunities for donors to give more efficiently. But do not stop there. A key to becoming an expert is to build a foundation of knowledge and then keep learning. Read articles, research, publications, and network with others in the field. Always keep learning.