22 October 2019
Excellence in Communication & Fundraising - 5 Tips
Communication is a topic about which many books, journals and blogs are being written almost every day. Excellence in communication benefits all aspects of life – ranging from our professional lives, personal lives and everything that falls in between. Even from a purely business perspective, the best deals are always achieved as a result of excellence in communication.
In today’s context, communication has branched out further with the growth of social media and advertising. In keeping with current business and market trends, it is essential that we too, who are engaged in fundraising activities for kingdom purposes, commit to becoming excellent as communicators. But, excellence in communication is not achieved overnight, it’s an ongoing process acquired through discipline and a conscious desire to break the stereotypes of mediocrity.
Clear and effective communication is key to successful fundraising. Fundraising isn’t just about raising money, but it is about raising resources to accomplish a goal. Well-defined goals and clear outcomes of the organisation, communicated with excellence, helps to build trust among stakeholders, increases the organisation’s credibility and draws potential donors to give more frequently. In fact, communication and fundraising are two sides of the same coin.
Here are five simple tips to help us towards this excellence in communication and that will eventually make us successful in all our fundraising efforts.
1. Listening Well
Active listening is an important skill that we often disregard. It is important to pay close attention to what others are saying and to clarify ambiguities by rephrasing their questions for better understanding. Listening is absolutely key to excellence in communication; the inability to listen effectively results in a breakdown of communication. Listening is not the same as hearing – listening requires focus and a deeper engagement. Therefore, practising and developing the art of active listening will lead to greater productivity with fewer mistakes, an improvement in the sharing and gathering of information that, in turn, will lead to more creative work and success in raising funds.
2. Be Concise
Using few words to convey our message is an art that comes with practice. We must keep our conversation specific and avoid confusing the audience with rambling as it causes them to lose interest in the conversation.
3. Maintaining Positive Body Language
Positive body language, maintaining eye contact, utilizing hand gestures, watching the tone of our voice and a relaxed body stance when communicating with others helps to break walls and allow us to approach others easily.
4. Speaking with Confidence
Speaking with confidence is achieved through years of conscious practice. In order to unleash the secret of speaking with confidence, we need to look within. Each one of us is blessed with the gift of voice and the gift of breath. Voice is the instrument and breath is the force. Together they help to propel our thoughts with assertion and eloquence to the audience around us. Like a musician and a vocalist who will undergo years of training, it is through consistent practice that we get to master the art of using our voice and breath effectively during a conversation, debate or speech that would draw undivided attention from the audience. Additionally, confidence in speaking also comes with self-belief and a strong conviction about the subject we want to share. Because, if we aren’t genuinely convinced about the subject ourselves, we would fail anyway to persuade the audience from buying into our presentation and, ultimately, our very mission.
5. Identifying Target Audiences
It is important that we understand our target audiences, their needs and operational strategies because this will enable us to not only share information using the right channels – traditional or digital - but also allow us to develop better strategies to gain maximum impact in fundraising. Being able to articulate vision effectively and being proficient in sharing accurate information to the right people at the right time/place, results in a significant advantage! To succeed in our fundraising attempts, we must have sound knowledge of the cause we want to raise funds for, possess good relational and persuasive skills and have the ability to make use of the most appropriate medium for the sharing of information. And, when we constantly pursue these skills, we will grow from being merely mediocre communicators to harnessing excellence in communication.
Provashish Dutta joined Jatiyo Kristiyo Prochar Samity (JKPS), India, in 2017 after a successful career with Compassion. He manages Communications and Resource Mobilisation at JKPS and is responsible for the design and development of all of JKPS' promotional materials. Provashish is passionate about photography and loves to travel for opportunities to take candid shots with interesting stories to tell.