Producing a compelling and effective fundraising appeal is an art and a science. As a nonprofit we need to appeal to the heart and the mind by pulling at the emotional and intellectual “strings”. However, we cannot forget that there are some basic tactical methods to make the appeal resonate and drive people to take action. Here are four important factors you want take into consideration.


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. Without some sense of urgency it becomes too easy for the donor to put your appeal on the back burner. Help them to see that you need their help now. Demonstrate what will happen if the current needs are not met in a timely manner.


Fundraising can really take off when an appeal is able to touch the emotions of the reader. You need to appeal to their intellect – but more importantly their heart. People typically give from the heart. They have a built-in mechanism that prompts self-giving (time, talent or treasure) when certain emotions are triggered. Your fundraising appeal must tap into these emotions.


Donors won’t give to just anyone, even if the cause is good and noble. Tapping into someone’s emotions to incentivize him or her only goes so far, you will need to inspire trust by being authentic and genuine – people respect this. Build trust through your use of simple and unpretentious language, personal testimonials, stories of success, and ensuring the appeal-signer is someone that can be trusted.


Donors want to know that they are making a difference and they want to participate in something bigger than themselves. Expand their heart and draw them into the experience by connecting them with the end result of your charities work. Show concrete results and the specific impact of a gift. Make it easy for them to see how their donation matters.

Follow these four principles, and you may find your appeals to be more effective for both direct mail appeals and emails, or even website landing pages. Good luck.


Source via The NonProfit Marketing Blog.