April is an important month for Nonprofits in Arizona, the 2nd is Arizona Gives Day and it’s the last chance for donors to nonprofits to benefit from the 2023 Qualifying Charitable Contribution Tax Credit. Newspapers across the state allow spokespersons from the community to promote both these events. Last week, The AZ Republic, gave Kristen Wilson CEO of AZ Impact for Good a chance to make her pitch in an Opinion piece. Ms Wilson chose not to highlight the many accomplishments of the nonprofit community, or even tell a few stories of the one on one help that made peoples’ lives better. Instead she bemoaned the fact the charitable giving has declined for the last several years .That decline will continue until nonprofits reconnect with their community and convince them they are solving problems.

People give to nonprofits because they believe they can and are doing amazing things; to help feed, clothe, and shelter the less fortunate among us, to find cures for diseases, and find solutions for their community’s problems, not because the State will reimburse their donations. It’s not a parlor trick; it’s a commitment to make a difference. The Nonprofit community has lost sight of its main fundraising tool, telling the story of what they do. When we donate we want to know we are making a difference, a dent in the problem. Small stories that detail individual triumphs and big steps that get us closer to solving the problem is what really motivate donors.

Social Media is a great place to start. It’s free and gives you enough feedback to judge and improve your storytelling skills. Don’t bother explaining why donating will not cost a donor anything, the TV ads are already selling that, instead try to sell them on what you do. Tug at their heart, and astonish them with how much you do with very little money. It will bring you committed followers and It will make you and your team feel better about the battles you confront every day. Sell your mission, and your commitment to it, that will breed loyalty for the long haul.

The other way to change the decline in giving is by involving the community in the decision making of nonprofits through volunteerism. Those volunteers can become the “true believers”, who can help tell your story to the community, come up with new solutions, recruit donors, and other volunteers. But they can’t be relegated to menial tasks; they must be part of the team that seeks results. Who knows? One of those volunteers might be a social media whiz.

Nonprofits also need to select board members that want to solve the mission of their charities. Filling your board with members who show up for board meeting and little else or are either seeking status or offer the nonprofit status are filling seats that should be filled with people who care as much about the mission as its leadership does. Nonprofits need leadership to become much more results oriented and open to new and creative solutions, ideas to not only to raise money but find ways to truly attack your mission statement ,and then spread to word of their victories. That will inspire donors to truly invest their time and treasure in your mission and sustain you through the lean times.