Generally, I enjoy nothing than writing, writing and writing to share with you everything I’ve been learning from my clients… my coaching… my teaching… my reading…my research and studying… just what I’m absorbing from the ether. I absolutely crafting articles for you filled with strategic fundraising tips, advice gleaned from years of in-the-trenches…Details
What’s the point of a fundraising appeal letter?
That’s obvious, right? To raise money!
But, wait a minute.
I always ask the question “why?” until I finally get to the end – where no more ‘why’ questions need to be asked — and uncover the true purpose behind anything I’m doing.
So… why are you endeavoring to raise money?
Because your organization needs contributed income.
Why does your organization need contributed income?
Because you don’t generate enough earned income to enact your mission.
Why don’t you generate enough earned income?
Because you make your services available for free or low cost to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
Why can’t folks afford what you offer without subsidy?
Because they’re … elderly on fixed incomes… vulnerable children… newly arrived immigrants… low-income single parents… families living below poverty level… veterans… unemployed… homeless… devastated by a natural emergency or illness… saddled by debt… or otherwise at-risk, marginalized, overlooked or being in need of a break.
Why else do you need community support?
Because the upfront cost is greater than the market will bear, but worth it for the ultimate community good of… a cure for a terminal disease… relief from devastating pain… ending injustice… saving the environment… preventing violence, abuse, addiction, suicide… restoring faith and inspiration to those whose lives would otherwise lack meaning, fulfillment and hope.
Aha! Now that you’ve answered all these important “why” questions you know the point of your fundraising appeal letter or email. Right?
It’s to get people to understand the benefit of their gift; what will happen absent their generosity.
It’s more than ridding themselves of the dollar they had burning in their pocket.
But wait another minute.
Can you dig still deeper?
Why do you want people to understand the outcome they can create?
These days you’re likely communicating with constituents digitally more than ever before.
That’s terrific, but… I want you to remember one important thing, especially if you’re a small to medium-sized, local nonprofit.
Philanthropy, translated from the Greek, literally means ‘love of humanity.’
Whatever you do that gets in the way of your humanity?
Stop doing it!
I really mean it.
PEOPLE GIVE TO PEOPLE
Sure, sometimes the ‘cause’ alone is enough to drive donations. But generally this holds true only for first-time gifts, emergency response gifts, and gifts to national and international charities with large name recognition. Even in these cases, repeat gifts and major gifts are driven by human interaction.
When it comes to your current supporter base, they tend to want to engage with real human beings.
Want to know what’s not a real human being?Details