This one goes out to the dreamers, everyone with a giant vision to change the world…
Rainmaker, you may remember a little over a month ago when I wrote the post titled “This will be my first billion-dollar impact.”
In it, I wrote about the mission I’ve established for myself, to create a billion-dollar-plus impact in online fundraising, over the next 10 years.
Today’s post is a bit of an update, with a lesson.
This is a project in which I’ve been working on creating momentum for a couple months now.
It’s been slow-going, to say the least.
Like most markets, the nonprofit market is mostly insular. The established players are resistant to change — especially an outsider coming in and telling them that everything they’re doing is wrong.
I get it.
There’s always an outsider coming in, telling you that everything you’re doing is wrong — and if you’ll just do it their way, you’ll enjoy much greater success.
As humans, we’re wired to resist this message. Because most often, that outsider is wrong.
Often the outsider is missing some critical piece of information that would disprove their theory — a piece of insider knowledge that on the scales of making or breaking the idea will break it.
As someone selling our bold new ideas, our grand vision, we’re met with the #1 objection in all of selling or marketing… “Prove it!”
Because anybody can make claims…
Anybody can propose a new idea, a bold new approach…
Anybody can BELIEVE that they’re going to change our world, or the world at large…
But most people will never do it.
Their dream will remain a dream… A big idea.
It will remain in the dreamer’s head, never actually used to shift and shape the world.
If you have a big idea you want to use to change the world, this is your greatest challenge…
To take an idea from dream to reality — no matter how small that reality — is infinitely harder than creating a bigger reality.
It’s why I often tell aspiring copywriters the single-most-important thing they can do is get their first client. Even if they fall flat on their face, getting that first client and first project is the hardest part of starting a copywriting career. The second, and third, and so on are impossible without the first.
So… You have an idea. You want to use it to change the world. You want to use it to create a business and get rich. You want to help a million people. You want to make a billion-dollar impact in online fundraising.
Whatever your big goal is, it’s important to keep it in mind as your intention, and focus on making that big goal a reality.
But it’s critical to not let it cloud your vision about what you can do today, right now, to move forward. To take that idea from zero to one.
Usually, that’s getting your first sale. Or, in some other way, getting the first proof that what you’re saying is true.
And often, doing that requires you to do something unglamorous, that will not get you the eventual recognition and praise and riches you hope for…
Often, the fastest way to get started is to say, “Screw it, I’m going to do it myself…”
When your greatest challenge is to “prove it,” and everyone you wish to prove it to won’t take action without you having proven it with someone else first, it’s time to bootstrap.
This is why the irresistible offer letter I’ve recommended makes such a great intro for a first-time copy client. You’re offering to prove your ability to help them at your risk, not theirs.
It’s why creating a sandbox side business can be one of the best ways to hone your marketing skills before you start pitching yourself hard to clients. If you can sell your own products and are willing to risk your own dough to get results, you’ve got clout.
And in my case, I could claim all day long that my approach may be a better way to raise funds online, but until I start showing real fundraising results, I’m going to get the response of “prove it.”
So, that’s what I decided to do, and fate smiled on me…
Within a day or so of deciding that I needed to start testing aspects of my online fundraising approach (based in commercial direct response, but unproven with nonprofits), I stumbled on an important podcast interview.
The interview was on my friend Alex Charfen’s podcast, The Evolutionaries. It’s with one of the most interesting nonprofit CEOs I’ve ever been exposed to. Scott Harrison, of charity: water.
Now, a lot of good things have been said about Scott. I’m not going to repeat them all here.
But two things really stood out to me.
First, Scott has built charity: water into an incredible nonprofit. They are doing a ton of good work (they’ve helped 5.2 million people since 2006!), and are really focused on making them impact they say they’re going to make. (They follow “The 100% Model” which says 100% of public donations go directly to the mission — and an independent audit by KPMG supports that claim.)
Second, charity: water has made it easy to actually do your own fundraising for them. They’ve built an entire online platform that allows you to create campaigns and see your results. This makes it fertile ground for me proving this model that I believe can have a HUGE positive impact on so many good causes.
These two factors, combined with perfect timing, helped me decide I would focus my first bootstrap campaign on charity: water.
So, I decided to create a “Video Appeal Letter” for charity: water…
A “Video Appeal Letter” is the fundraising equivalent of a video sales letter. Same thing, only asking for a donation, instead of trying to make a sale.
And I created a Facebook page called “Give Love With Me” that’s a personal project where I can share videos like this.
It’s all brand new, so there aren’t a lot of likes yet. Nor are there a lot of posts.
But my hope in doing this through Facebook is that I get some of the “viral” effect possible in social media, that is harder to make work on a website.
It contains a heart-wrenching story about a young girl who died because of dirty water. As well as more information about the water crisis, the charity: water solution, and what you can do to help.
Obviously you’re not obligated to donate, just because you read these daily essays. But if you feel moved to support my campaign — through a donation, or through sharing — I would greatly appreciate it.
My goal is to help fund one $10,000 water project by December 31st. I made the first donation, giving $30 to create a lasting clean water solution for one person. Anything you can give will make a difference.
But bigger than that, my goal is to prove this aspect of my model (the Video Appeal Letter) on my way to creating that billion-dollar impact.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets