Improving Nonprofit Fundraising Messaging

Over fifty nonprofit staff joined us on Tues. May 24th for our second session with Achieve. Presented in partnership with the Benter Foundation, the Velocity Series is a five-session program of best practices in nonprofit fundraising.

Derrick Feldman, president of Achieve, kicked off the session with a recap from the first session, reminding attendees that they – nonprofit professionals – are not the target audience.

“Remove from your thinking the idea that if you like it, everyone will like it. Donors do not read everything. Donors forget and do not remember the good work you do. If you read your direct mail and you are bored, congratulations, it’s a great piece.”

This session’s lesson was all about messaging.

It’s important to share what impact your work has on just one person, said Feldman. “The mind cannot fathom helping more than one.” In fact, when a donor sees just one person, they start to create the narrative in their own mind. Showcasing the story of one individual or one family pulls the reader in in a way that statistics simply don’t.

“The narrative in your appeals needs to include the impact you can have on one individual,” said Feldman. “You can tie in neighborhoods and community, but you have to help the donor understand the impact for an individual.”

The session also included an in-depth look at the structure and content of direct mail appeals. When crafting a piece, Feldman says to use the following questions to structure it:

  • What’s unique about your organization in how you make the donor feel?
  • Why is this moment and/or today so important? Why is it important for the donor to give now?
  • What is the offer you’re presenting to the individual?

Ultimately, “you need to position the offer as the chance and opportunity to do something for somebody else,” said Feldman. “You need to make somebody feel that they can make that difference.”

Want more? Check out these direct mail tips from Achieve and sign up now for the remaining three sessions