THE fundraising copy question

Your fundraising copy always asks one question—the Big Fundraising Question. Even if you don’t realize it, you’re asking it. If you answer the Big Fundraising Question in a way that connects with your donor’s passion you’ll raise more money than if you ignore it.

Ready? OK, here’s the Big Fundraising Question:

“If I give you my $10 what difference will I make?” (insert whatever dollar amount you like-it holds true for $10 gifts and $100,000 gifts).

Any fundraising copy that asks for a gift is asking this question. The answer can be very specific and about what your donor loves to do. Or it can be vague and center in what you want to do.

Here’s how it works. After reading your copy, the donor must love what happens with their gift.

who am I helping?Here are some great answers to the Big Fundraising Question:
– You will give a hungry family love and dignity by feeding them a meal.
– You will provide three hungry children hot, nourishing meals for a week.
– You will give one homeless man a warm, safe place to shower and sleep.
– You will make it possible for a single mom to get job training so she can provide for her kids.
– You will give hope to a high-risk teen locked up in a juvenile detention center because they will hear a powerful message of God’s love for them.
– You will put a Bible into the hands of someone who’s never read it for themselves.
– You’ll build a 24,000 square foot drug and rehab facility that will double the number of men who will get help with their destructive addiction.

Some really bad answers to the Big Fundraising Question:
– You’ll help us meet our budget.
– You’ll help out because the economy is really difficult and many donors aren’t giving as much as they have in the past because they don’t have as much money as they used to, so you need to give more so we can meet our budget.
– You’ll feel good because you’ll make a dent in the huge deficit we’re running because of the economy (and our poor planning but we’re blaming the economy).
– You’ll help us meet our goal of raising a bunch of money to top off our campaign thermometer.
– You’ll help a really nice lady who’s worked in our bookkeeping department for 20 years keep her job.

See the difference?
What about your world?
Are you answering the Big Fundraising Question in a way that thrills your donors?



Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity


(photo credits: jamesfischer)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

6 thoughts on “THE fundraising copy question”

  1. Thanks for the great post. My question is how should we be talking to our donors about our money problems? Our deficit is real. We have to have their help. How else can we tell them they will make a difference if we don’t talk about the budget?

  2. @Anne–Budget is a reflection of priorities. How your org spends its money demonstrates its priorities far more clearly than the mission statement. The difficulty arises when leadership has trouble articulating the thinking behind budget choices. Often in troubled times management will cut programs to protect admin staff.

    Take that budget shortfall dollar figure, say you need $17,890 before the end of the month. If a donor could write you a check for that amount, what would happen? Would people be fed? Learn to read? Receive clothing? What would happen? Then talk about THAT to your donors… focus them on your mission.

    Does that help?
    st

  3. Thank you Steve. I have heard that major donors are far more investment oriented and less emotionally motivated than other donors. That would seem to indicate that we should communicate differently to them. Would you agree with that concept?

  4. “You’ll help us meet our goal of raising a bunch of money to top off our campaign thermometer.” Good one! 🙂

  5. @Anne P–I am not sure that I agree that Major Donors are less emotionally motivated. I do think that Major’s are often thinking of investing in ministry. They are often more likely to think long-term or big concept. But I know for certain that many large donations are driven by an emotional attachment to the organization. I do believe that for large gifts, donors often need the analytical points to support their emotional decisions. I know of mid 5 figure gifts and larger that were completely motivated by emotion. The placement and timing of the gift may have been less emotional, but emotion was the driving force. It is a mistake to approach major donors with only dry, fact-centric plans devoid of emotion.
    st

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