A 4th Grade Tool for more successful Donor communications

by Dan Kirsch, Mentor, JCamp 180

I first learned about Venn diagrams in Miss Haggar's fourth grade class. Never the math whiz, I recall how this simple visual tool provided an "aha" moment for me to understand concepts of sets and their intersections.

Now, thanks to a UK-based fundraising agency called BlueFrog, the brilliance of the Venn diagram has returned to me. BlueFrog's version captures the essence of effective donor communications. It's my new favorite tool - posted right by my computer - and I want it to be your new favorite, too.

Don't be put off by the reference to "charity." Just substitute "Jewish camps."  If you're one of those, the message is for you. Your communications with actual and prospective donors should be focused on the set of topics on the right side, the donor side. Success comes from telling donors and prospects the things they want to hear - NOT what you want to tell them. This is the essence of "donor centric" communications.

Most important of all, the intersection of your camp's interest and your donors' comes in a simple beautiful statement. "How we helped solve a problem." Together you are solving problems that you both care about. Those challenges may be huge - Jewish continuity, Israel's future, etc. Or they may be more modest - getting one kid to camp who couldn't otherwise afford it or even repairing that troublesome septic system.

The point is that you and your donors share values and a vision of a better world. You both see Jewish camp as one of the most effective experiences for creating that world. Everyone who communicates with your camp's donors - professionals and lay leaders - should use this simple diagram as a constant reminder of where to focus your messages.

Remember: Keep your messages focused on the donors' side. Celebrate how together your camp and your camp's donors are solving problems, creating a better world through Jewish camp.

You just never know when a lesson learned in 4th grade math - or at Jewish camp - will come back to help you.