As a nonprofit professional, you understand the importance of a fundraising appeal in any successful effort. However, to comprehend how to create a strong fundraising appeal, we must first understand what it entails and how we can improve its effectiveness.

A fundraising appeal is defined as “a letter or other form of communication from a nonprofit organization to its supporters, asking for donations” (Charity Navigator). Fundraising appeals can come in many forms – emails, social media posts, direct mailers, and even personal visits! – but they all have one common goal: to convince potential donors to give money to your cause.

A charity appeal is a fundraising effort in which your organization solicits donations. This can be done through email or direct mail, which is generally more responsive. Typically, fundraising letters are dispersed during main points throughout the year, like during holidays or the end of a fiscal year. Although, they can be sent more frequently as well.

There are many different types of Fundraising Appeals, but some of the most common are general donation requests, sponsorship requests, in-kind donation requests, and corporate donation requests. There are benefits to each type of appeal with its own set of advantages and drawbacks and hence is crucial to choose the right one for your needs.

General donation request Fundraising Appeals are the most basic type of appeal. They ask for a monetary donation from the recipient. These appeals can be sent to individuals or businesses, and they are often the most accessible type of appeal to get funding. However, they can also be the least effective, as many people ignore them or don’t have the money to donate.

Sponsorship request Fundraising Appeals are more specific than general donation requests. They ask for a monetary donation for a particular event or project your nonprofit is working on. For example, if you’re raising money for a new community center, you might send sponsorship requests for Fundraising Appeals to businesses in the area. These appeals can be more effective than general donation requests, as they show potential donors how their money will be used. However, they can also be more challenging to get funding for, as businesses may be hesitant to sponsor something they’re not directly involved in.

In-kind donation request Fundraising Appeals are similar to general donation requests, but instead of asking for money, you’re asking for goods or services. For example, if your nonprofit is collecting donations for a food drive, you might send out an in-kind donation request to businesses in the area. These appeals can be effective, as many companies are happy to donate goods or services they don’t need. Although, it sometimes gets tough to get funding, as businesses may not want to contribute something they could sell or use themselves.

Corporate donation request Fundraising Appeals are similar to sponsorship requests, but they’re sent to corporations instead of businesses. These types of Appeals can be effective, as corporations are often interested in supporting nonprofit organizations. However, this may sometimes get difficult to get funding for, as corporations may be hesitant to donate to a cause they’re not directly involved in.

However, regardless of the sort you pick, fundraising appeals may be delivered by various methods through various communication channels.

Several key elements go into making a successful fundraising appeal. First, you need to have an unmistakable and concise message. You want your donors to know exactly what their donation will be going towards and why it is essential. Your second course of action is ensuring your appeal is visually appealing. This means using engaging imagery and graphics and providing that your overall layout is easy to read and understand. Finally, you need to have a solid call to action. This is what will convince your donors actually to give money to your cause.

For all the above-discussed elements, keeping them in your mind can help you create a strong fundraising appeal that will help you boost your donations and get the word out about your nonprofit!

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Let’s look at ten powerful strategies to make your fundraising appeals more effective:

1. A multichannel approach to fundraising will help you reach your goals.

2. Make the most of data-driven insights from a nonprofit CRM.

3. Send targeted direct mail fundraising appeals.

4. Create targeted fundraising appeals by segmenting your audience.

5. Customize your fundraising appeals to each individual.

6. Explain the fundraising need using storytelling techniques.

7. Put the donor in the spotlight as the star of your narrative.

8. Include specific requests in your fundraising appeals.

9. Make a multichannel, simple, and easy approach for contributors to donate.

10. High-quality resources should be used in your fundraising appeals.

To ensure that your fundraising appeal is as strong as possible, it’s crucial to follow such approaches to reach your goals! Let us go through these suggestions in depth and learn more about them to make a strong fundraising appeal. Let’s get started.

1. A multichannel approach to fundraising will help you reach your goals.

A time tested and one of the most essential ways to improve your fundraising appeals is to incorporate multiple channels into your campaign. You can earn more potential donors and create more touchpoints overall. In addition, a multichannel approach leads to more donations because donors have more opportunities to give. Some great channels to consider using in your next fundraising campaign: are direct mail, email, social media, and personal visits. By using a combination of these channels, you can ensure that your message reaches as many people as possible.

Furthermore, by using a multichannel approach, you will see increased levels of engagement from donors. After all, if your contributors think about your organization more frequently, they will be more likely to give generously and often. For the best fundraising success and results, utilize direct mail and digital marketing techniques such as text, email, and social media.

2. Make the most of data-driven insights from a nonprofit CRM.

The second imperative for up-leveling your fundraising appeals is utilizing a CRM system. Doing this allows you to segment and personalize different elements of your letters. For example, using a CRM can customize donor profiles, communication skills, and fundraising data. This certainly allows a non profit to easily connect with donors deeper and secure more funds for your cause.

Next, you can add personal details about the recipient throughout your letters, such as their preferred name or how long they’ve been a customer, helping in creating a more personalized experience. In addition, this technique allows your charity to take advantage of a large quantity of unused data, which may enhance your fundraising appeals and better reflect your contributors’ interests and goals.

CommunityForce nonprofit suite CRM is one of the most acceptable alternatives for donor management software since it’s designed to meet the needs of nonprofit users who want a deeper look at their data insights. One of the most powerful tool is your CRM, which can help you make the most of your appeals and campaign, but you need the right tools to use it effectively.

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3. Send targeted direct mail fundraising appeals.

Have you ever tried sending a fundraising appeal that makes the donor feel like they are part of something much larger? It’s an incredibly effective strategy; you and the donor will walk away feeling good about the interaction.

A successful appeal can be highly effective, primarily when delivered via the most potent channel: direct mail. Even in 2020, direct mail is still the most common method for nonprofit organizations to raise funds in the United States. Individual contributions account for around

70% of all giving—or about $309 billion—in 2020. So guess what the single most significant instrument for individual donations is? You’re right: it’s direct mail again.

Since direct mail is a potent marketing tool, it’s the perfect channel for sending your strategic appeals and heading up your fundraising efforts.

4. Create targeted fundraising appeals by segmenting your audience.

Segmenting your audience is critical if you want to enhance your fundraising appeals. That’s because more targeted targeting comes with segmentation. You will undoubtedly have a greater conversion rate among your intended audience when you use more specific targeting.

Segmenting your audience doesn’t have to be complicated and with a list of five step process you can be sure of how to do it:

· Use data from your CRM to help you make better decisions. We’ve already discussed the importance of a CRM to improve your donor profiles, practical communication skills, and fundraising data. Now you can increase the effectiveness of your campaign’s productivity and conversion rates by using more precise appeals based on the data your CRM generates.

· Classify donors by shared characteristics. When you organize your contributors into groups based on similar characteristics, you’ll notice that each segmented group has its community. This means that your donors are connecting with people who have similar interests. You’re well on the road to successful segmentation!

· Make the necessary ask which in the fundraising pipeline is the third stage in segmenting your audience. You must now ensure that each request is tailored to the community’s interests and abilities. By making a list of specific asks, you can create a more customized and successful experience for each donor.

· Assemble data from contributors. After segmenting your donors and writing your direct mail appeal, check that the script aligns with the donor’s interests. Once you’ve sent a few requests, evaluate how your donors react to their custom letters. If necessary, make changes at this stage for future appeals.

· It pays to repeat what’s working well. When you’ve completed steps 1-4, you should be well on your way to good audience segmentation and a high conversion rate with your fundraising appeals. Repeat the procedure to continue segmenting your audience even more!

If you’re unsure how to get started categorizing your contacts, consider their giving method, communication preference, engagement history, gift size, geographical location, and so on.

donor stewardship

5. Customize your fundraising appeals to each individual.

Personalization is the next stage in improving your fundraising appeals after segmentation. Again, personalization is critical to the success of your fundraising appeals. Your letter may be thrown away if it isn’t personalized, and it will appear exactly like another piece of junk mail that your potential contributor may toss aside.

Once you have divided your audience into groups, it becomes easier to personalize content for them. Segmenting provides valuable data that helps guide what kind of personalized content will be most successful. Segmentation sorts your donors into groups with common characteristics, but personalization creates appeals tailored to each donor.

Adding personalized touches to your fundraisers, such as addressing people by name or noting prior donations, is a smart and clever way to make them more appealing. This shows the donor that you appreciate their involvement in your cause and care about them as individuals.

6. Explain the fundraising need using storytelling techniques.

Incorporating storytelling techniques into your fundraising operation is one way to make it more personal and engaging. Stories appeal to members’ emotional quotients by giving them more to comprehend rather than just a piece of mail. After all, people are more likely to remember a personal story than they are to remember facts and figures.

Engaging your audience is a mastery by telling a story, one of which is sharing the history of your nonprofit. Though some listeners may already be familiar with this origin story, it’s beneficial to reiterate critical points like the overall brand message, your involvement, and your commitment to the nonprofit, as well as stories from those you’ve helped that illustrate how life-changing your organization can be.

recurring donors

7. Put the donor in the spotlight as the star of your narrative.

When talking to your donors, always emphasize their contributions and why your organization’s goals are possible. Make them feel like heroes because they genuinely are! Be sure to frame everything in a way that makes it clear that the donor is key to making progress.

The best way to make your donor feel appreciated is by using language that involves them. For example, instead of saying “I need,” say “you are able.” This type of change in wording will position the donor as the heroic character within your story and ultimately encourage them to donate. Also, be transparent about how their money will be used and its impact. People are more likely to give if they trust that their donation is going towards a good cause.

You motivate them to get more involved by financially supporting your organization if you place the donor at the center of your narrative. They don’t want to hear about what you’re doing; they want to hear about what they’re doing.

8. Include specific requests in your fundraising appeals.

Another approach to enhance your fundraising appeals is to include particular requests. Essentially, you want to make sure that you ask your donors for more than just money. When you compose your fundraising appeals, bear in mind that you should call on individuals to take action and explain what their contribution will accomplish. An example of this might be “assist disadvantaged persons in obtaining an education.” After that, you may want to go further by requesting specific-sized donations, such as $25, $50, or even $100. If you can satisfy the reader that they are personally able to help you achieve your goals by making specific donation requests, the more likely they are to give their assistance.

Using such approach to express your ask is by connecting it with a specific narrative. For example, if you successfully explain where their contribution was spent, the donor will feel more grateful for the gift. Furthermore, it produces a natural bond between the person and their cause, which might lead to future donations.

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9. Make a multichannel, simple, and accessible approach for contributors to donate.

After you’ve done all of this work to get your letter read, you want to ensure that your giving procedure is as simple as possible. For easy donations, there are three things you should stay on top of:

If you’re looking to make online donations, be sure that your platform is user-friendly. If somebody prefers this method of giving, include the URL to your online donation page so they can easily give without any hassle.

Streamline the donation process for yourself and your donor by including a prepaid, pre-addressed return envelope with every fundraising appeal you send. This way, donors only need to put their check in an envelope and drop it off in a mailbox.

Other channels to collect cash: Other methods, such as text to give, can be helpful since they enable contributors to give via their mobile phone from any place with cell phone service. Text to give is also a straightforward procedure that may be convenient for donors and fundraisers.

You increase the chances that recipients of your fundraising appeals will take the next step by precisely providing them with a wide range of options for giving. Otherwise, if the process is too time-consuming or complicated, you risk losing interested donors before they give their donations.

10. High-quality resources should be used in your fundraising appeals.

The final stage in developing effective fundraising appeals is to utilize high-quality materials when printing, packing and delivering them. The things you select for your charity’s campaign are crucial because they represent the essence of your organization. If you use low-quality resources, it may appear unprofessional and inexpensive. High-quality materials, on the other hand, improve your professionalism and increase your ROI.

Fortunately, if your budget is limited, specialty direct mail fundraising services may assist you in saving money on some of those expenses. For example, several direct mail service providers allow you to send high-quality fundraising appeals for a lower price than you could do yourself.

In the end, there are several critically essential tools and methods for enhancing your fundraising appeals. Personalizing your letters effectively and adopting a nonprofit CRM enable you to reap benefits such as increasing conversion rates, improving the donor experience, and forming long-term connections with contributors. Enhancing your fundraising appeals is crucial to a successful direct mail campaign.

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Whether you’re a startup organization or a leading corporation, CommunityForce provides fully customizable, all-in-one online grant management solutions to maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve collaboration so you can focus on increasing your impact. We’ve helped organizations streamline their entire process no matter the size and scope of their giving.