This is last installment in the “Creating Donor Evangelist” series! All the back issues are available at in the archives in the “Donor Evangelist” category. As a reminder, Huba and McConnell’s six “Creating Customer Evangelist” themes are:

  1. Customer Plus-Delta: Understanding the Love
  2. Napsterize Your Knowledge: Give to Receive
  3. Build the Buzz: Spreading the Word
  4. Create Community: Bringing Customers Together
  5. Bite-Size Chunks: From Sampling to Evangelism
  6. Create a Cause: When Business is Good

Today we’ll explore number 6: Create a Cause.


Fortunately, creating a cause is what nonprofits are all about! This one should be easy for us. McConnell and Huba quote Guy Kawaski (formerly of Apple Computer) and his five goals for a company’s cause:

  1. A well-defined vision
  2. Making people better
  3. Generating big effects
  4. Catalyzing selfless actions
  5. Polarizing people

How well does your nonprofit communicate these? Is the vision, your organization’s “grand plan to change the world,” clear and memorable? Is your organization committed to making people better–including its donors? Is it generating big effects and spurring others on to selfless actions?

How is it doing at polarizing people? Huba and McConnell note that because causes have the power to change society, they naturally tend to polarize people into groups. Does your nonprofit’s vision do this? Should it?

Huba and McConnell devote a section on adopting a charitable cause. They tell of how American Express gave a percentage of all purchases toward a fund to reopen the Statue of Liberty. Customers often want to be associated with companies making a difference in this way. Are there natural corporate relationships your nonprofit can create? And, should it?

One very important point that the authors make is that causes should be easy to join. They report on their experience trying to join several “causes” including: the Microsoft Developer Network, Handgun Control, Inc., NRA, the National Audubon Society, Planned Parenthood, and the Sierra Club. This section is worth reading on your own.

They often couldn’t tell if they’d joined the cause or merely signed up for an email list. Hint: those are not the same thing. People joining a cause want to be more actively involved than passively receiving email.

The easiest cause to join was the Sierra Club. They clearly posted a “Join or Give” button on their front page. That linked to a page with clear membership benefits including how donated money is used. Joining at the lowest level cost $25 and filling out the form and credit card information led them to a confirmation page. They received a hardcopy of the Sierra magazine a couple weeks later and a special backpack shortly after that.

Does your nonprofit make it easy to give? Many organizations make “giving” a hard option to find on its website.

Huba and McConnell sum it up very well: “Rallying supporters to join your cause is like dating: once they’re ready to commit, don’t jilt them at the altar.”


Is your cause compelling? What kind of difference are you making in the world? Why not have a “join the cause” page on your site?

How many clicks does it take to get to your giving page? Take a moment to go through the process as though you were visiting the web site for the first time. If you were a first time visitor, would you make it all the way to giving money and joining the organization’s database? Can you even accept money online? If you can’t, why not? I mentioned a simple, relatively low-cost alternative is in my “$100,000 Guide to Email Solicitation.” If you need a refresher you can purchase it in the Fundraising Coach Store or get a free copy by signing up for the free bi-weekly email newsletter.

This week survey the web sites of some politician running campaigns to get some great ideas about involving people in a cause. They all have donation options, multiple volunteering options, and gear for people that support their cause to wear. Why shouldn’t your organization have all that?

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