The Two Things Donors Want to Hear When You Appeal to Them at Year-End

I hope you are in the full swing of the holiday season! And I do hope you’re pulling in LOTS and LOTS Of year-end gifts!

Here’s some coaching I gave a colleague this morning.  She is working on some last-minute email appeals for her new job. The first draft of the note talks about the great things this group has done in the past year and asks for a gift. She asked me to give her an edit.

“No!” I said, “this won’t work! Here’s what your donors want to hear:”

1. What, specifically, do you want to accomplish this coming year? Tell your donors EXACTLY what you are raising money for.  This means you are NOT making a generic appeal. You are making a very specific appeal. You are asking your donors to contribute to some specific goals and projects.

Remember, NEVER, EVER make a generic appeal. It will kill the energy of your letter. You’ve got to be as specific as possible.

2. How much money will it take to accomplish this? Donors want to know if you are actually planning. If you tell them you need $25k or $100 or $2 million, that gives them some benchmark for their own gift.  They want to know what part they might be playing in the effort to get the job done.

And telling them how much money it will take shows that you are well-run. You have made your plans and you’re deliberately planning to execute them.

I have found that just the act of naming an amount helps the money to actually come in.  The word gets around town that this group needs xxxx and sometimes foundations or special donors show up and make that last gift to meet the goal.

There’s lots of power in driving a stake in the ground and setting a goal.

So many organizations are afraid to set a goal because they need as much money as possible, and they want to raise as much as possible.

But I strongly recommend nailing down some goals and a dollar figure. I promise it will help you raise more money!