Nonprofits: Harness the power of the personal appeal

July 19, 2017

You’ve probably heard it before: People don’t give to causes — they give to those asking on behalf of a cause. That’s why a personal appeal continues to be such a powerful not-for-profit fundraising tool. In fact, requests from friends or family members typically drive most charitable donations. By appealing to their networks, board members can be particularly effective fundraisers.

4 strategies

Here are some time-tested strategies for improving the effectiveness of your board’s outreach:

1. Humanize the appeal. Say that your charity raises money for cancer treatment. If board members have been impacted by the disease, they might want to relate their personal experiences as a means of illustrating why they support the organization’s work.

2. Emphasize benefits. Even when appealing to potential donors’ philanthropic instincts, it’s important to mention other possible benefits. For example, if your organization is trying to encourage local business owners to attend a charity event, board members should promote the event’s networking opportunities and public recognition (if applicable).

3. Meet face-to-face. Letters and email can help save time, but face-to-face appeals are more effective. This is especially true if your nonprofit offers donors something in exchange for their attention. For instance, they’re more likely to be swayed at a coffee hour or cocktail gathering hosted by a board member.

4. Present a wish list. Your organization should provide board members with a wish list of specific items or services needed. They can offer supporters the opportunity to donate a purchased item or make an in-kind donation.

Never-ending challenge

Fundraising is a never-ending challenge for most nonprofits. Contact us for more information on effective fundraising strategies.

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