Say These Three Powerful Things

Say These Three Powerful Things.

Here are three powerful phrases you should say directly to your donors.

We work these ideas into almost every appeal and e-appeal our clients send out. And I’m certain they’re a part of our clients’ success.

Here’s the list:

  1. “Your gift is needed”
  2. “You and your generosity make a real difference”
  3. “I’m thankful I can write to you about this”

Your donor almost never hears these things from the charities she supports!

And if you say them, you’ll raise more money. Let’s take them one by one.

“Your gift is needed”

Most nonprofits don’t ask directly for gifts. They’ll share a story of a person the nonprofit has already helped. They’ll talk about all the good work the nonprofit is already doing.

And then they’ll ask for “partnership” or “support.”

I’m here to tell you that you will raise more money if you directly say to your donors, “Your gift is needed right now.”

Your donors are hearing from lots of nonprofits today. Many of them are talking about the good work that the nonprofit has already done. But if you’re asking for a gift and if you make a good case for why her gift is needed today, and tell her that her gift is needed today, you’ll be overjoyed at the response you receive.

And your donors will love giving the gifts. Because they love to feel needed.

“You and your generosity make a real difference”

Again, this is something most donors never hear directly.

I think that nonprofits feel like they are saying this all the time. But they aren’t – they’re usually talking about what the organization has done, not what the donor has done.

So when you directly say to your donor, “You and your gift make a real difference,” you’ll probably be the only nonprofit in her portfolio that’s telling her.

When it comes time for her to give her next gift, do you think the nonprofit that’s made it incredibly clear to its donors that they and their gifts make a real difference has the best chance of getting that gift?

You bet.

“I’m thankful I can write to you about this”

This is one of those powerful ways you can show your donor that you don’t take her for granted.

Take off your “fundraiser” hat for a second and put your donor hat on.

Wouldn’t you love to hear, regularly, that the organization writing you is thankful even for the opportunity to write to you?

If they’re thankful to be able to write and talk to you, how thankful must they be when you give them a gift?

And if they are that thankful for you – if you mean that much to them – doesn’t that make you more likely to give them another gift?

Personally, I think this is such a powerful idea that I’ve put it in every appeal and e-appeal I’ve written recently.

You can think of all three of these ideas as clearly and quickly communicating ideas that matter to donors.

In today’s world of harder donor acquisition and dropping retention rates, isn’t telling your donor that she’s needed, that she makes a difference, and that you’re thankful for her – isn’t that more important than ever?

I believe it is. So I say it all the time. And it works.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

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