you have to startle your donors

So what’s your one startling fact? What’s that one statistic that would so shock and surprise your donors that they’d be ready to take action?

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

So what are the startling facts in your cause and ministry? What are you seeing . . . what do you know that will shock people and prepare them to take action? Whatever your cause is, if you don’t have an amazing fact or a startling figure to share with your donors and prospects, you’re missing out on three important opportunities.

1. The fact(s) elevate your expert status. If you or your organization is not an expert in your field, why would your donors give to you? You may be efficient, ethical and even be effective but they also need you to be an expert. Demonstrate your expertise with an arresting fact. Being an expert in your area and a resource for others also increases the chances of securing both Foundation and Corporate funding.

Another interesting tidbit: If you want to go viral, go “expert.” Dan Zarrella, a researcher at HubSpot reveals in his new book Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness that the two reasons most people share things online is because they want to look smart, and they want to share something that’s important to them. Why not indulge your donors by providing this expertise for them!

2. The fact(s) crystallize the reality of your work. Example: The “homeless problem” develops an emotional stereotype that can produce giving out of guilt or habit. But changing the “homeless problem” to a child having to “car camp” because their mom is on the run from an abusive dad can bond a donor to your work for life. The true, vivid picture of your work –when it sticks in your donor’s imagination will change your income for the better.

3. The fact(s) increase your attractiveness to prospects. Be honest, were you tempted to look up the links in the beginning of the article? Did you want to find out just a little more? So will people who weren’t previously interested in your cause before . . . if you present them with a startling fact backed by a humanizing story.

Your ministry is important — in fact it’s vital. So let’s make sure your donors will run through the wall for you. Tell them the facts!

I’d love to hear from you. Are you using startling, compelling facts in your donor communications? What’s your fact? What have you seen out there that’s amazing you?

Oh . . . and what’s Oneicity’s startling fact? Hmmm . . . how about that one of our e-Dipstick clients grew their online giving by 80% last year. Wouldn’t that be a fun thing for your ministry to experience?


Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: macinate)

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

4 thoughts on “you have to startle your donors”

  1. Yes, great great stuff! I know statistics can be tricky. Too many and you get people out of their heart and into their head, where there isn’t much compassion going for the most part. But those shocking stats can be the rallying cry for a cause, they get passed along and it’s a benefit to the donor by educating them . . . and they appreciate it!

  2. I love the facts you chose to illustrate this piece. They are not just STATS but the opening line of a compelling story! And all of us are addicted to story.

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