People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

Blaise Pascal

Your youth club donors, funders and supporters are already convinced about why you are doing something. They have chosen your youth club as a solution to a problem they have recognised to exist: young women having few opportunities. They have given you money, shown their confidence in you, and believed that youth work is a solution to that problem. At this stage, you are demonstrating that you are creating the change you promised to deliver and solving that problem. 

So what was it that Marie, Ibrahim and Oscar were looking for? 

Marie donated to your youth club’s building project. She wanted to visit every three months and to be kept updated.

  • Make sure that you prepare her visits well – 
    • Do you think it would enthuse her and her husband if other donors were there so that they could share their excitement in the change they are creating for women and girls? Or do you think they would prefer a VIP, exclusive visit, on their own? Would they like to invite their friends and family so they can show off the project, and potentially invite them to get involved? 
    • Are they interested in the building itself? Could they visit when the architect or site manager is there? Or are they more interested in meeting some of your current project participants, the girls and youth workers, and hearing about why they are excited about the building’s progress? 

She is interested in seeing regular progress. Whilst she wasn’t specific, it might be a good idea to: 

  • Send her photographs or videos (taken with your phone) of the youth club building’s progress each month (most people don’t want to be overwhelmed with information), and update Marie if there are any delays (or advances) so that they can understand if the project is delayed. They want the project to be successful! They aren’t there to catch you out, so treat them as partners, not enemies.  
  • Let her know if further funds have been secured – she knows that the building cannot be completed if other donors and funders don’t get on board.  
  • Show her receipts if she requests them.

Ibrahim enthused his friends and got them to invest in a youth project that they knew little about, in an African country that they knew nothing about, and had no interest in, beyond Ibrahim’s belief in it, and their trust in him. He will need to keep his network up to date if he continues to fundraise. As his donors are in the USA: 

  • They will expect photos and videos showing what Chidi is achieving, and demonstrating that she is spending their money as agreed. 
  • They will need ‘feel good’ stories to show the human impact. Most westerners have heard horror stories of schools being built in Africa, and then going unused, or not being used for their stated purpose. Can Chidi take videos on her phone, either telling the story herself or featuring some of the young women or project volunteers? 

Being strategic, you can see that some of these are the same. The feel-good stories you share with Ibrahim could also be shared as monthly updates with Marie. A testimony from Marie about what she has seen on her visit could be easily filmed on your phone (if Marie is happy) and shared with Ibrahim. As a local donor, Marie’s feedback could be very valuable to foreign donors who are not able to visit themselves, and Marie might well be happy to share her insight, knowing that her donation alone will not fund the building project, but that she could inspire others to give to meet the budget requirements.

Reflection Questions

  1. What do you currently do if a donor wants to visit your project? Is it the same or different to the point above? What would most of your donors favour?
  2. How often do you send photos, videos and stories to your donors? Are they the same as those above, or different?
  3. Do you find that those stories and visits get a good response from your donors? How do you know?
  4. Do you currently think about how you can use resources for more than one donor, or type of donor/ funder?

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