It’s the Holidays: Are You Sounding Needy Enough?


It seems pretty obvious, yet it can’t be asked enough: are you making it clear to people that your organization needs them?

So much of what we do at holiday time is to tell the good news, the happy story, the successes, such as how much we’ve accomplished this year, how great the new building is, how many more families we’ve served this year. It could make it look to our supporters like we’ve got it all handled—handled so well that we don’t need their help anymore.

You wouldn’t want them walking away from your holiday event thinking that, would you?

If you knew that it was your job, and your job alone, to convey your organization’s needs, what would you do differently?

Yes, you’d boast a bit about your accomplishments. You worked hard for them and these donors’ contributions helped to pay for them.

But beyond that, you’ve got to paint the mental picture of how much more you could be doing. Let them see that there’s still an enormous gap between where you are and where you want to go. Tell them what it would mean for the community if you were serving every child in foster care, providing tutoring for every child in need, expanding your programs statewide or nationally.

If all they see is the pretty picture, they won’t know what’s missing. They won’t know where they fit in, where they can contribute.

As you prepare your holiday mailings and events, be sure you are showcasing at least one clear need in each program. For example, we need more books, more tutors, more concerts, more or better training programs, equipment, or advocates.

It’s fine to let people know you need more staff. Just be sure to convey the impact of that additional staff position, be it a parent educator or caseworker. If you have a waiting list of 40 students needing mentoring, be sure to talk about the staff-to-volunteer ratio needed for quality control. And let people know that one staff member can leverage up to 40 volunteers, which would allow you to reach 40 more young people.

Be sure your staff and board understand the importance of making your needs clear and are able to articulate them simply. Give them a short list of your key needs and have them practice talking with you about each need in their own words.

Get started now! You want everyone who comes in contact with your organization over the holidays to know that you need their help and to see a way to participate in meeting your needs.

Action steps you can take today