Unless you’ve been offline for two years, you’re going to know what a meme is.
But if you’re like me, you sometimes need to search what the ‘young ‘uns’ are talking about because ya know…getting older. And when my little sister called me ‘extra’, I was straight onto Google to find out if I should be offended or not.
Turns out she was right, kind of.
‘Being extra’ means trying too hard or going over the top. And as a fundraiser I’m always going to be a little ‘extra’, and I think you should be too.
If you’re one of six charities pitching for a partnership or you land an interview for the job of your dreams, being extra is the only way you’re going to stand out.
And it works. During an interview I had to convince my interviewers to share my love for hiking. Instead of describing the beauty of being surrounded by the forest, I gave them jars filled with lavender, fir tree, pine cones and moss so they could experience it for themselves. I got the job and my interviewers got a canny air freshener for their mantlepiece.
We’ve all experienced the frustration of knowing a potential supporter would say yes if ‘we could just get them to (insert service centre here) to see it for themselves’…then why don’t we just take the experience to them?
When used correctly, a physical item appeals to your audience’s imagination and goes beyond the impact of a 2D photo. If they can see, touch or even better, keep, something connected to your message, you’ve piqued their interest and made it easier for them to understand. Why describe something when you can show them?
And being an extra fundraiser goes beyond props and pitching. You want to be remembered after that meeting; think of ways you can ignite a spark with supporters to leave them feeling warm and glowy after you’ve gone. Handwritten cards, a note to say the meeting was the highlight of your day, or even a gift that shows you’ve thought of them will have them feeling nothing but positive about you, and your organisation.
The interviewers still talk about those jars and I think about how I almost didn’t do it; like it was over the top, too much…
Now my motto is, ‘If I think it’s too much, it’s probably just right’ – and I’m proud of being an extra fundraiser.