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The 4 T’s of Amazing Fundraising Appeals

At Network for Good we spend a lot of time analyzing what makes an ask more effective, as a really good fundraising appeal is so crucial for nonprofits to connect with supporters and inspire donors to give. Our CEO, Bill Strathmann, is a big fan of alliteration and recently shared four T’s for effective appeals. Here’s how they add up to a better message that works:

Timely: Your appeal needs to have a sense of urgency to move donors to act now. Let them know what will happen if they give immediately—or what might be lost if they don’t.

Touching: Effective fundraising taps into the emotional and personal reasons for giving. Your fundraising appeal must inspire your reader to feel something if you want them to take action. Compelling photos and stories help make your message come to life.

Trustworthy: Once you’ve inspired donors with emotion, they need reassurance to follow through with their donation. Build trust by including trust icons, testimonials, and sign your appeal with believable and relatable messenger.

Tangible: What will happen if someone gives? Show concrete results and the specific impact of a gift. Donors want to know that they can make a difference. Make it easy for them to see how their donation matters.

Want to take your nonprofit’s fundraising appeals to the next level? Our latest ebook will help you do just that. Download your free copy of “How to Write Amazing Fundraising Appeals” to learn how to take your fundraising letters from fizzling to sizzling. Plus, you’ll get a step-by-step template and cheat sheet that makes writing your next appeal a piece of cake.

amazing fundraising appeals

A Few of My Favorite Tools

Like many of your organizations, my business is basically a tiny shop. There’s never enough time and everything to do. Plus, as a working mom (and daughter of a 92-year-old), I’m multitasking day and night and always have too much on my plate. I think you see what I mean.

We all need help to keep things organized, timely, and moving forward. Here are some of the greatest helpers I know.

How to Get Your Board on Board with Social Fundraising

Looking for a new way to get your board involved with your fundraising efforts?

A social fundraising campaign can help make it easier for your board members to fulfill their “give or get” commitment to your organization.

Of course, the idea behind social fundraising isn’t new, but combining the age-old structure of board support and your fundraising assets with technology that makes it much easier to ask for a gift can amplify your outreach, resulting in more donors and more donations for your mission.

get your board on board with social fundraising

Make It Easy

Any time you want to turn donors into fundraisers (or get anyone to do anything, really), you’ll see more success when you make your desired action as easy as can be. This especially applies to your board members. They want to help, but they’re busy and they might not know where to begin. This is where a little planning goes a long way. Some things to consider:

Offer clarity: First things first—you’ve got to be crystal clear about what you want your board members to do, how they need to do it, and what you expect from each of them. Setting these expectations up front will save you a lot of headaches down the road. This means you’ll need to zero in on your fundraising goals, which projects or programs you want to fund with your campaign, and how many donors you think you’ll need to get there.

Give them scripted messages: Get your board members started with pre-written emails, fundraising appeals, phone scripts, and social media posts. They may want to customize these messages to underscore their own stories or connection to their networks, but offering a starting point will give them the head start they need to feel like a personal fundraising campaign is something they can do.

Set a timeline and send reminders: In a recent conversation with local nonprofits about board fundraising, I heard a common refrain, “My board members want to get involved, but they sometimes work on their own time frame, instead of ours.” Ok, you may not be able to totally get around this, but you can minimize this concern by being upfront about your campaign timing and deadlines. Have a timeline just for your board, and send reminders to keep them motivated and on track. Encourage them to set an example for your other donors and fundraisers by kicking off their campaign with a donation that can serve as a matching gift.

Equip them with the right tools: Having the right technology in place will make the entire process of setting up a campaign, organizing your board members, and collecting donations much easier. You’ll want a fundraising platform that allows you to quickly customize your message and launch your campaign, as well as built-in best practices and optimized pages, so you’re getting the most out of your board members’ outreach. The easier it is, the more your board members can do themselves, taking more of the burden off of you. (Pretty sweet, right? Want to see a platform that can help you make it easy? Register for this week’s social fundraising demo to learn more.)

Half of Your Email Subscribers Are Ignoring You

New research from the 2015 M+R Benchmarks Study tells us that, on average, almost half (45%) of small nonprofits’ email subscribers are inactive. Yikes!

Inactive could mean different things to different organizations. Many organizations define inactive subscribers as those who’ve gone one year with no activity. (These don’t necessarily include lapsed or inactive donors. We’re simply talking about people in your database who haven’t opened an email in a really long time—donors and nondonors.) However you define your inactive subscriber base, I think we can all agree that you need a plan of action to reengage with people who were, at one point, interested in your organization.

Philanthropy Outlook Rosy, Reports IU Lilly School of Philanthropy

U.S. charitable giving predicted to rise 4.8 percent in 2015.

The tide may be turning!

Giving momentum is strong and getting stronger, according to research findings recently released by the IU Lilly School of Philanthropy and Martz & Lundy.

Here’s more of the good news reported in The Philanthropy Outlook 2015 & 2016:

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