Simplify, Specify, Multiply


Follow these three words and you’re on your way to raising a LOT of money.

We’ve talked before about keeping your fundraising simple so that it’s easy for donors to understand. You will raise more money, and you will be more valuable in the donor’s life, if you can translate your work into words and concepts they understand.

Next, be very specific about what a donor’s gift will do. Stay away from generic bromides like “hope” and “transformation” – show the donor how their gift will provide one meal, or push one piece of legislation forward, or help one person get an education. Be specific.

Note: you can and should talk briefly about all the other things the donor’s gift does. But that should be 10% of your appeal. The other 90% should be about the specific Need and the specific way the donor’s gift will meet that need.

Then, show the donor how their impact is multiplied. Donors are humans just like you and me, and donors love deals. So use a matching grant to double their impact. Factor in volunteer hours or donated supplies. Then get specific: ‘because of donated supplies and volunteer hours your gift of $1 helps provide $4 worth of dental care.’

Simplify your problem and your solution. Be specific about what the donor’s gift will do. Then show the donor how their impact is multiplied by your methods. But keep the focus on their impact being multiplied, not on how your methods do it.

Jim Shapiro

Jim Shapiro is the fundraising coach you’ve always wanted, the proven Sherpa who can help you get to the top of the mountain. Jim has 30 years’ experience raising money, including serving as the VP of Development for a global $100m nonprofit. He co-founded The Better Fundraising Co. to help small-to-medium nonprofits raise more money.

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