Reach Risk-Adverse Donors by Adding Credibility to Your Year-End Appeal

I am such a fan of Kay Sprinkel Grace. She is one of the ultimate fundraising gurus who I have followed for a long time. The highlight of my summer was hearing her in person at the Bridge Conference in DC this summer.

So I wasted no time asking her to be a part of the 09 Year-End Fundraising Strategies Telesummit. And, as usual, she had some provocative and pithy ideas to share. (find out more. . . )

Here’s the deal: we have to know where our donors stand if we are going to successfully encourage them to contribute this year. So we need to drill down a bit into our donors’ minds and hearts and understand their attitudes so we can craft the right kind of fundraising appeal.

According to Kay ( and I do wholeheartedly agree), donors are feeling poor right now, whether they are multimillionares or not. So they are being more and more careful about their giving (and spending for that matter).

Kay thinks the economy is starting to pick up. And she is also seeing that philanthropy is picking up as well. : ) So If philanthropy is starting to pick up, then this year-end is a golden opportunity to re-gain the fundraising losses we have seen in the past year.

But we need to know how to talk to our donors.

Right now. Responding to their current attitudes for fall/winter 09.

Here’s the issue – donors are less likely to take risks now. They are becoming more conservative. Gone are the days when a person might issue 30 checks at year-end, just because they cared a lot and also because they had ample income.

Now, people are giving to fewer organizations – AND to trusted organizations.

SOOOOO how do speak to your donors NOW? Remember that credibility is essential for your fundraising now more than ever. How do you establish credibility?

Lots of ways:

  • track record – here are our results
  • transparency – how we are spending your money
  • who is on our board (what community leaders are standing behind us and our cause?)
  • 990 posted online
  • professional looking web site and marketing materials
  • good looking (ie, professional) fundraising appeal
  • longevity – we’ve been in business all this time
  • endorsements from well-known community leaders
  • funding from well-known sources (publicize this because it adds credibility)

Be sure you hit all these points somewhere in your web site and in your appeal.  And you’ll be more successful if you do.