What actually is a Fundraising Offer?


The fundraising offer is often the least understood, but most effective way nonprofits (especially smaller nonprofits) can start raising more money immediately.

A strong offer helps your organization:

  • Raise more money with each piece of fundraising
  • Be more memorable to your donors
  • Build stronger relationships with your donors

A fundraising offer is the main thing a fundraising piece says will happen when the person gives a gift.

Here are some examples of offers, and while you might notice that some are better than others, we’ll talk later about what makes an offer effective or not. For now, we’re just working on identifying offers and understanding what they are.

We’ve underlined the “main thing that will happen” that each letter / email / newsletter emphasized:

  • “Will you join us as we fight poverty”
  • “Will you help these overcoming women in their journey
  • $1.92 will provide a Thanksgiving meal
  • “Please partner with us as we end generational homelessness”
  • “For every $250 you donate, one child will attend camp this summer
  • “Your gifts support the Harmony Experience for all”
  • “Your gift supports the arts in our community”

As you can see, every piece of fundraising communication has an offer.

Some offers are more powerful than others.

Some offers work for almost all organizations (e.g., year-end). Some offers only work for some organizations at very specific times of the year (e.g., opening night at the opera). Some offers are so powerful they can create billion-dollar organizations (e.g., “child sponsorship”).

Your job as a fundraiser is to find the most effective offers for your organization.

This post is excerpted from the Better Fundraising e-book “Fundraising Offers: What they are, how they work, how to make a great one.” Download it for free, here.


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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