Please Don’t “Continue To”

To be continued...

When you ask a donor for a gift in an appeal or e-appeal, you will raise more money if you can focus the donor’s attention on the change that their gift will cause.

Unfortunately, organizations often accidentally emphasize the lack of change that a donor’s gift will cause – and they raise less money because of it.

This is happening every time you see the phrase “continue to” in an appeal or e-appeal.

Example Time

Here are three examples of how “continue to” causes an organization to raise less money from appeals that recently came across my desk…

“Your gift to the Annual Fund enables us to continue to provide the necessary support, programs, and services to our students.”

According to that sentence, will anything change if the reader gives a gift? Nope. If the reader gives, the “necessary support, programs and services” will continue to be provided. There will be no change if the reader gives a gift.

Here’s another example:

“Please join us in making a contribution so we can continue to do work like this…”

If the reader gives, the work will continue to get done. There will be no change.

“Your help is needed now more than ever, so we can continue to provide safe, stable and affordable homes to those in need.”

If the reader gives a gift, the work will continue to get done. No change.

How To Emphasize Change

Here’s how to emphasize the change, using two of the examples above.

Original copy:

“Your gift to the Annual Fund enables us to continue to provide the necessary support, programs, and services to our students.”

New copy:

“Your gift to the Annual Fund will provide necessary support, programs and services to our students.”

Even better copy:

“Your gift to the Annual Fund will provide necessary support, programs and services to a student.”

Compare the “even better” copy to the original. Doesn’t it feel stronger and more direct? I can more-or-less guarantee that it would raise more money.

Here’s the second example from earlier:

“Your help is needed now more than ever, so we can continue to provide safe, stable and affordable homes to those in need.”

New copy:

“Your help is needed now more than ever to provide safe, stable and affordable homes to those in need.”

Even better copy:

“Your help is needed now to provide a safe, stable and affordable home to a family in need.”

Every single one of those sentences is accurate and truthful. But the “new” and “even better” copy would help those organizations raise more money.

2022

In our experience, one of the qualities of successful appeals is that the change that the donor’s gift will make is obvious to the reader.

Your appeal letter is likely to raise more if it tells your donor that their gift will cause meaningful change, as opposed to funding the status quo.

So watch out for “continue to” in your fundraising this year – make sure you’re not accidentally downplaying the big change your organization makes in the world.

Because donors give gifts to make a change. To right a wrong. To stop an evil. To help a person. To advance a cause.

Ask donors to make a meaningful change with their gift and you’ll receive both more gifts and more meaningful gifts.

7 comments on “Please Don’t “Continue To”

  1. What a golden nugget! I love reading all the emails and using the tools you guys send out! Your communication is the best, making my job so clear and focused! I started with a new organization two months ago, and you help me prioritize and cut through the noise when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Thank you!

  2. Wow, what a great improvement! I love how such a simple change in wording can make such a powerful difference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *