What Becker the Yellow Lab Can Teach You about Fundraising Offers

Recently, I came across the strongest, clearest “offer” I’ve ever seen.

This “offer” came from my dog-nephew, Becker. He’s a one-year-old yellow lab.

Becker LOVES when people visit his house. And he presents one clear offer to each visitor:

“Will you play tug with me?”

Becker shares this offer using his warm brown doggie eyes, with a toy in his mouth and FULL confidence that you will say YES!

When you DO say yes, here’s the game:

You hold onto a toy that gets increasingly slimy while Becker tugs and shakes the toy until your teeth rattle. If you let go, he gives you a puzzled look and then gives you a chance to try again.

Taken at face value, this isn’t a game I would choose to play.

But I say yes nearly every time, because Becker presents his offer (play tug with me!) with urgency and contagious excitement (excited eyes and wagging tail). And I know what he wants is for me to grab the toy and hang on for dear life.

If I don’t respond, he is doggedly persistent and keeps nudging me with the toy until I respond.

Becker does all this without saying a word!

YOU can have this kind of success with your fundraising.

You see, Becker’s offer has three key nuggets that also make an effective fundraising offer.

  1. Shows a clear need
  2. Is urgent
  3. Tells the recipient exactly how to respond

When your fundraising offer is that clear, your donor doesn’t have to guess what’s needed right now. Nor does she have to guess what her gift will make happen. She knows exactly what to do!

This means you’re more likely to get a response and raise more money for your cause and your organization.

So next time you’re putting together a fundraising offer — whether it’s for an appeal, email, event, or in-person meeting — make sure you include all three of Becker’s heart-tugging tactics. Be clear with the need. Share the urgency. And make sure your donor knows what to do next with a clear instruction like “send in a gift today using the envelope I’ve enclosed for you.”

Sarah Lundberg

Sarah is a Fundraising Advisor with Better Fundraising. She has been part of the nonprofit world for over 18 years, most recently as Director of Marketing and Communications at an international ministry. Sarah loves helping organizations see what’s possible when they put proven fundraising practices into place.

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