A Simple Reason Why Non Profits Must Define & Understand the Theory of Personal Impact
Take a look at the new Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge project which was just publicly announced. The project includes a $2.85-million structure stretching 775 feet into the waterway, with a fishing pier to accommodate 100 people and a floating dock for the Michigan Sea Grant educational program boat. Also seating, shaded structures and interpretive signs will be included, according to a news release from the organization. So why is this project appealing to funders such as Wayne County Parks, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and more than 20 other partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Quicken Loans, Monroe Bank and Trust and Friends of the Detroit River? Because it is new (of course), it provides access to the larger community and most importantly it is personally impactful to the emerging area, the surrounding neighborhoods and to donors who want a more vibrant region.
So in simple terms, non profit leaders MUST think not only about how their organization impacts its beneficiaries, but also the underlying “value” that the organization delivers to its constituency. The big questions to ask are “How do you make your donors’ lives or the community better?” And “Do donors feel more educated or civically engaged by supporting the organization?” Answering these two primary questions can be challenging in the nonprofit world in which donors are often indirectly benefiting from the causes they support. But, this is nevertheless a useful exercise and helps organizations understand their partners’ priorities relating to personal impact and their rationale for giving.
By defining the social benefits which donors accrue, you can more persuasively engage them and at the end of the day be more successful in garnering their attention and support – PERIOD.