6 Impactful Ways to Enhance Your Fundraising Appeals

Nonprofits like yours often rely on fundraising appeals to solicit much-needed donations from a network of supporters⁠—prospective donors and long-time givers alike. But fundraising appeals can vary greatly in terms of overall effectiveness, so you’ll want to craft your messaging carefully to ensure the best results for your donor communications strategy.

This is where our top tips for effective donation requests come in! We’ve put together this list of strategic ways for organizations to enhance their fundraising appeals to build better donor relationships, see substantially increased conversion rates, and secure the funding necessary to make their mark on their communities. These include;

  1. Making use of personalization.
  2. Incorporating suggested donation amounts.
  3. Mentioning matching gifts.
  4. Communicating donation impact.
  5. Choosing your channels wisely.
  6. Including a specific call to action.

Whether you’re writing new fundraising appeals from scratch or looking to improve upon existing messaging, these six tips can help produce the results you need.

Let’s jump in with our first suggested practice.

1. Make use of personalization.

As you draft your fundraising appeals, it’s important to remember that while well-built-out templates can be an excellent starting point for your messaging, you shouldn’t overlook the power of personalization, either. Instead, you’ll want to begin with a basic fundraising letter and personalize from there to create a targeted and relevant appeal.

Consider the following ways to personalize your nonprofit’s donation messaging:

  • Address the recipient by their preferred name.
  • Acknowledge any previous giving or engagement they’ve had with the organization.
  • Reference campaigns or programs relevant to the donor’s interests. 

Here’s an example: “Peggy, thank you for being a continuous supporter of our cause. We appreciate your consistent donations to our annual fund and the way you volunteer to help us out behind the scenes as well. Would you consider donating once again to help us better serve our community and pursue our mission in new and impactful ways?”

2. Incorporate suggested donation amounts.

A big part of soliciting donations effectively has to do with determining the optimal gift to request from each contact on your list. Suggested donation amounts tend to result in increased contribution sizes and even elevated conversion rates. And donors like being provided with recommendations as well—it’s much easier to say “yes” than it is for them to decide an amount on their own.

So how does your organization select the right amount to ask for? Consider these tips:

  • Estimate a donor or prospect’s ability to give using wealth markers. Determining wealth markers as a part of prospect research can be an effective way to uncover an individual’s ability to give charitably. Common indicators of wealth include real estate ownership, stock holdings, political giving, estimated salary, and more.
  • Adjust your suggestions based on an individual’s donation history. When it comes to engaging with established donors, their previous gift amounts can be an excellent gauge of the giving range you should ask for in future appeals. Start with a suggestion a bit higher than their average or most recent donation size!
  • Allow individuals to choose a different amount if they would like. Even if you think you’ve chosen the perfect donation amount, you want to make sure donors are free to select a different amount if they’d prefer—whether it’s less or more than you’d initially proposed.

Here’s an example: “Will you consider a gift of $100 to help us reach our fundraising goal?”

3. Mention matching gifts.

Corporate matching gift programs enable organizations to raise more through donation matches. They also make fundraising appeals stand out, leading to increased individual giving as well.

According to matching gift reports by Double the Donation, 84% of individuals surveyed indicated that they’d be more likely to donate if a match is offered, while 1 in 3 donors would give a larger gift. Overall, this led to findings that simply mentioning matching gifts in fundraising appeals results in a 71% increase in response rate and a 51% increase in the average donation amount as compared to those without mention of matching opportunities.

Thus, it’s a good idea to include matching gift information in your organization’s donation appeals. Here’s how you can do so most effectively:

  • Share context as to the prevalence of matching gift programs (e.g., did you know that over 26 million individuals work for companies that match employee donations?).
  • Reiterate the benefits of donation-matching in relation to your organization’s mission.
  • Reference company-specific program guidelines if you have access to an individual’s employment information.
  • Include matching gift highlights throughout the donation process itself and afterward with dedicated follow-up messages.

Here’s an example: “Did you know that your employer, Home Depot, matches charitable donations made by its team members? Consider giving today to get your gift doubled!”

4. Communicate donation impact.

Donors typically support nonprofits with missions that reflect their own interests and passions. Additionally, they want to contribute to organizations they see making a difference in those causes. In other words, they want to ensure their own hard-earned dollars are being used well.

As such, it’s a best practice for organizations to proactively communicate the way donations are being used in order to best appeal to their audience of existing and prospective donors. Here’s how you might do so:

  • Offer varying donation levels that correspond with tangible mission objectives.
  • Tell real-life stories of constituents who benefited from your services, as made available through donor funding.
  • Incorporate images of your organization at work through mission-related programming.
  • Include birds-eye-view metrics such as total number of beneficiaries served since your nonprofit’s founding or fundraising revenue collected in the past year.

Here’s an example: “It’s thanks to your generous dollars that our organization was able to care for and rehome over 150 furry friends this year. To help us continue our work, a $100 donation allows us to feed the shelter animals for a month, while a $200 gift can sponsor a pet’s adoption fee, significantly increasing its likelihood of finding its forever home.”

5. Choose your channels wisely.

The channels you use to communicate your appeals to donors matter as well. There are a ton of ways to get your message across, which include:

  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Text message
  • Phone call
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Website

The impact of each channel tends to vary based on the organization’s donor network make-up. Fundraising research reports that although female donors are more likely to give based on social media marketing, male donors tend to be more inspired to action by email messaging. Meanwhile, the same studies indicate that both Millennial and Gen X individuals gravitate toward social media appeals, while Baby Boomer donors are more often impacted by email requests.

More than likely, the best answer is going to be some sort of multi-channel approach where you incorporate a combination of the above mediums to communicate your message to donors. For example, an individual may first discover your fundraising campaign via social media, then receive a personalized email appeal, and ultimately be directed to your organization’s website to give.

6. Include a specific call to action.

Even the best-written fundraising appeals are going to fall short in terms of effectiveness if potential donors consume the message and remain unsure how to contribute. That’s why clear and specific calls to action (or CTAs) are essential.

Consider these best practices as you plan and establish your fundraising appeals’ calls to action.

  • Choose a single, high-priority action that reflects the intention of your fundraising message.
  • Select an easily typable URL that is hyperlinked to your organization’s giving form. 
  • Use a scannable QR code in printed materials that leads to an online donation page.
  • Provide information about how recipients can learn more about your organization if needed.
  • Incorporate an image or clickable button to ensure your CTA catches readers’ attention.

Here’s an example: “If you wish to contribute, please visit our online donation page at https://www.catrescueclub.org/donate-today/ to make your gift.”

Well-crafted giving appeals can be one of your organization’s most vital assets. By personalizing your content, providing donation suggestions, emphasizing matching gift potential, highlighting giving impact, strategically selecting your communication channels, and simplifying the call to action, you can set your team up for fundraising success long into the future. Best of luck!

Author: Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.

Double the Donation’s robust solution, 360MatchPro, provides nonprofits with automated tools to identify match-eligible donors, drive matches to completion, and gain actionable insights. 360MatchPro integrates directly into donation forms, CRMs, social fundraising software, and other nonprofit technology solutions to capture employment information and follow up appropriately with donors about matching gifts.

Wrapping Up

Check out these additional resources to make sure your next fundraising campaign is as successful as possible: