Why ‘Having Access’ Isn’t a Compelling Reason to Give


There’s a phrase I see used in direct response fundraising that always has me scratching my head.

Having access.

For example: Your gift will make sure a child has access to healthy meals.

Or your gift will help a cancer patient have access to treatment. Or your donation will make sure a student has access to education.

I’m not sure why this language is so enticing to organizations, but “having access” doesn’t provide a compelling reason for a donor to give. And it’s just not language that regular people use in their everyday life.

If you put on your donor hat, here’s something to puzzle over:

Would you rather give $30 so a child has healthy meals to eat, or give $30 so a child has ACCESS to healthy meals?

Would you rather give $100 to help a cancer patient get treatment, or give $100 to help a cancer patient have ACCESS to treatment?

Would you rather give $75 to help a student get a great education, or give $75 to help a student have ACCESS to a great education?

When we start to think like a donor, giving to provide access to something… just doesn’t measure up to providing the thing itself.

So when you’re writing your next appeal or e-appeal, try writing without using the idea of “having access” to something. Your writing will be stronger, your appeal will be easier to understand, and your donors will have a more compelling reason to give.

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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