NextGen Donors, pt. 2 – Values and the Theory of Change

Last week we discussed the importance of impact especially as GenX and Millenials become a bigger presence in your donor base. Very closely related is this week’s topic – connecting mission and money.

First of all – values. GenXers and Millenials are not the value-less hedonists that the stereotypes make them out to be. The NextGen Donors report gives details about the “values-driven” mentality these generations carry. Values that, for the most part, they’ve learned from their parents and grandparents, drive their charitable decisions.

In order to help these donors connect with mission, step 2 is connecting mission and money – showing the value of their donation related to the impact your organization is making.

First, you have to articulate the value you’re bringing to the community. That’s the impact issue again. A “Theory of Change” is a very good way to do that. This is a document that shows how you translate community resources into change regarding a particular social problem or issue. This image on this page is a good example of a very simple Theory of Change.

Second, surround yourself with people for whom the theory of change resonates. Board members, funders, volunteers, advocates – invite them into your theory of change. And reach down into the GenX and even Millenial generational pool. Ask them to give you feedback on your mission.

Finally, raise money in a way consistent with your mission. To be honest and frank, fundraising galas have no connection to 99.9% of not-for-profits missions. Find donors who “get” your mission, and just ask them.

Next week, the Fundraising Plan.