By: James M. Greenfield, ACFRE, FAHP

OneOC Consultant Advisory Group member

Everyone has a favorite word or expression they use often.  What are your favorite words to use for fundraising?  I have several, all four-letter words.

I begin with “Care” because if people do not care about the cause, about the organization, about those who are served, there is not much chance they will want to make a gift.  They also care about how their money will be well used to benefit others.

Another word is “Help”.  The purpose of philanthropy was defined by Bob Payton as “voluntary action for the common good.”  People helping people is fundamental to public support for charitable causes.  There are lots of ways people can help – it’s called volunteerism.  And, we know that volunteers work for free, for fun and for food!

Food “is important too and not just as nourishment but as shared experiences between people.  Food is the fuel that makes activities and benefit events attractive to others, a common starting point in building relationships between community residents and the organizations who serve them.

Since it also was mentioned, “Free” is on my list and not only because volunteers spend their free time to help.  Everyone is free to participate or not, as they choose.  What’s important is to acknowledge whatever they do and reward them for their valuable time and helpful service.

A fifth word is “Work “.  There is plenty of real work that people can do to help.  They also need to know they make a difference.  Volunteers are community residents who are giving hours to help provide services nonprofits otherwise might have to pay for.  Equally, these same working volunteers also are advocates to others about the causes they care about.

Last but not least is “Give “.  People voluntarily give their money and other assets as well as their time and talents in work for nonprofits.  Giving often does not happen unless people care about the cause and believe their financial support will help others.

These six four-letter words are active in every cause people care about and choose to help.  When mixed with a little food incentive and the freedom to work for what they believe in, it often leads to giving money as well.  For sure, it does not work the other way around.

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