Go read everything he’s been writing!
This is such a critical part of any appeal you will send. Yet, it’s often overlooked. And that’s a shame because when you can work out the offer the rest of the piece is much easier and makes more sense.
Since I’m going to borrow from Steven, here’s where you can subscribe. He’s got all the smarts.
Big hearted transactions make fundraising work
Fundraising is funny. As much as you don’t want it to feel transactional, in a way it is. But in a big-hearted, all-the-feels way. Donors do want something in return for their gift. They want to feel good about themselves. They want to know that something positive happened or bad was averted – because of them.
That’s what they get in return for a gift. Or what they should get!
So a fundraising offer is a little like a sales pitch. But again, in an emotional, charitable way. You tell prospective donors what they can accomplish with a gift.
And that is when, too often, we fall down. What they can accomplish is not “helping us do our important work.”
Your organization isn’t the lead player here.
Instead, let your donor have the spotlight. You are showing them what would be possible with their help. (If you already have it all covered, then there’s no room for the donor.)
So be specific. Take your organization’s work and break it down into believable, gift-sized pieces. Then tie your ask amounts to real actions or solutions. (Strangely specific numbers can be even more powerful here because they seem real – more accurate.)
Which of these would feel more effective?
Please send $50 today so our important work to fight hunger continues.
Your gift of $53 can feed a family of four for a week.
The second is both more believable and more interesting, right?
Offers can be hard to create – but it’s worth the effort
Your organization’s work might not easily fit into bite-sized pieces. Advocacy work comes to mind. But maybe it’s $33 funds the transportation costs so our volunteer can speak with your legislator face to face.
And what do you have to “sell” that’s altruistic with an arts organization? Many arts organizations have programs with free or low-cost tickets for school kids or people who can’t afford them. And of course, often the price of admission doesn’t cover the cost to present.
Both can work. It just takes lots of thought and work. But the good news is that when you do work it out, your fundraising will be more successful!
Give donors the opportunity to do something wonderful
Donors are wonderful people who want to do something good. Sometimes we get caught up in our own missions and we forget that. We forget to step to the side to let them experience doing good.
If you work in a nonprofit organization, you get your daily fill of your work and mission. You live and breathe it. You work for a little money and with a lot of dedication. But you do get to see your mission at work.
Your donors don’t get that daily infusion. And they want it.
Make them an offer.
There is so much more to learn about creating a good offer. And Steven has you covered. On his site, you’ll find a free booklet. I printed my copy so it can sit right on my desk. Get yours! (And no, Steven has no idea I’m writing this.)