How to make impact of gifts more visible to donors

News Release

The Make a World of Difference Project provides resources to children struggling from effects of Haiti's earthquake. (© MJF)
The Make a World of Difference Project provides resources to children struggling from effects of Haiti’s earthquake. (© MJF)

By Katya Anderson

One of the most powerful things you can do this year is to make more visible to your supporters the impact of their gifts.  If you don’t, you are likely to lose your donors and volunteers – as well as the chance to build morale and excitement among your staff.

Here’s a great example of an organization doing just that.  The Minneapolis Jewish Federation has launched the Make a World of Difference Project, which shows what’s happening in every corner of the world thanks to the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and its network of partners.

Every year, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation distributes approximately $15 – $18 million dollars to support programs and services that change the lives of people living in Minneapolis, Israel and 70 countries around the world. That means it can be difficult to convey the impact of its giving and that of the partner agencies it supports. These efforts range from a single mother in Minneapolis who staves off foreclosure thanks to an emergency financial assistance grant, to a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor living in Ukraine who receives food, medicine and warm clothes, to a boy in Haiti who can access a counselor to manage the post-traumatic stress he endures following the earthquake.

“At any given time the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and its network of partners are making such a strong global impact,” said David Grossman, owner of Grossman Design, the creator of the innovative tool.  “The Make a World of Difference Project gives donors a real-time look into how Federation is changing the lives of people and communities around the world, every day.”

Built on top of the Google Earth platform, the Make a World of Difference Project uses pins to identify and present the suite of Federation-supported organizations, programs and services. Each pin takes users to a unique page that has aggregated newsfeeds and video galleries from the most widely-used social media sites – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – capturing up-to-date news about what is happening on the ground through each organization, program and service. Users can like, share and comment on the feeds, helping to spread the impact of a networked, global community.

Take a look for yourself here.

Too fancy for you? Here are some other ways to show impact:

  1. Provide clear and simple information on how money will be used. The more tangible, the better.  For example: “Buy this backpack and our company donates $1 for school supplies for kids who can’t afford them.”
    There is a lot of research showing that specificity boosts giving and purchasing.  Vague statements don’t work as well – and they fuel skepticism among consumers.
  2. Show, don’t just tell.  It’s not enough to talk about the problem you’re addressing – you need to make clear you have a compelling solution that is making positive change.  That means you need to show your impact vividly.  Tell stories, use images and draw on the power of video to bring to life the difference being made every day.
  3. Choose your messengers wisely.  The best way to prove you have a positive impact is to get someone else to say it.  Endorsements, ratings, seals of approval and testimonials are great ways to build trust with consumers.

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