Successful Fundraising for Nonprofits Requires Compelling Copy

5702907_sLet’s face it—there are hordes of charities out there competing for dollars. Some charities step in when disaster strikes, attracting a lot of media attention and capturing the public’s hearts and minds, sending donations soaring.

What if your charity is not involved in life or death situations?

You must work harder at establishing compelling reasons why folks should donate.

Find the true grit

Whatever the mission of your charitable organization, you have a story to tell.

Even if you’re not rescuing people from the brink of death or the rubble of an earthquake you can capture the imagination of your target audience with a story that evokes an emotional response.

This is not the time to downplay the harsh situations faced by those your organization helps. Quite the opposite—you want to highlight how you are making a difference by focusing in on clients who are the neediest.

That means your story should be about your toughest cases, the ones who are sickest, hungriest or most disadvantaged. Then describe how their lives are better because of your organization.

Do not shy away from hard facts or evocative images. People like to get the inside story so include the true grit. Don’t let your story get watered down or it will lose its pulling power, and donations will not be forthcoming.

When you spotlight a person or animal and bring their situation to light, your donors’ emotions are aroused.  They want to relieve the pain and suffering you describe and thereby release their own emotional tension.

Look for ways to make your request urgent NOW

Tie your request to a current situation in the news or a compelling reason to give now, and state this up front, loud and clear. People are motivated by deadlines, so a time-sensitive request will get priority over appeals that lacks urgency.

Why people give

Some authorities believe people give because it is a way to relieve their guilt. Other experts believe fear and guilt may not be as strong a motivator as previously thought. It is also postulated that people donate because they feel it is their duty to help, they want to give back, and doing a good deed makes the donor feel good.

Either way, if you weave a truly compelling story that pulls at heartstrings and motivates prospective donors to act now, donations will follow!

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