Major Donor Fundraising: Why Deadlines Help You AND Your Donors

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Urgency is a powerful fundraising ingredient that motivates donors to action.  Adding a deadline to almost any fundraising effort will usually improve your results.

Your donors’ lives are BUSY.  A deadline – especially deadlines with consequences – gives them another reason to stop what they are doing and send in a gift today.

And here’s how a deadline helps you.  When delivering a major donor appeal for support, I always ask the donor to send me their gift or financial pledge by a certain date.  Including a “respond by” date does a couple of things for the donor and for me:

  1. The donor knows exactly what to do and when to do it by.
  2. The donor knows that if the gift isn’t received by a certain date that there is a negative consequence for the project, person or program we are trying to fund.
  3. It gives me a clear reason to contact the donor again if I don’t receive their gift by the response date.

So the next time you ask your donors to make a donation, be sure you’ve included a “response by” date and that you have clearly stated the negative consequence that will happen if they don’t send in a gift by then.  You don’t have to hit them over the head with it, but deadlines are magic.  And consequences, however small, help a donor realize that their gift really is important.

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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