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May 16, 2017

3 Reasons Your Fundraising Offer Needs Specificity

If you have teenagers (or ever were a teenager), picture this familiar scenario ... The teenager tells her parents that she’s going out for the evening only to be hit with a barrage of questions: “Who are you going with? Where are you going? When will you be home?”

It’s natural to want to know details about the people and things that matter most to you. Your donors are no different. They have entrusted you with their treasure and want to know the details about the good their money is doing — an important part of donor stewardship. Your donors know that you need their help, but do they know what you need their help with? And more importantly, do they know how they can help?

A great way to let your donors know about the impact of their gift is by using specificity in the gift string — the part of your offer that includes the gift amount options that your donor can choose from on an appeal or giving page.

offer stoolBuilding a successful offer is similar to building a stool. The three legs that support the offer are cost, impact, and urgency. You need all three to be structurally sound. Specificity is the seat of the stool holding the legs together. Without specificity, your fundraising offer is a bit wobbly. It might still function, but your offer is not as sturdy as it could be.


3 Reasons Your Fundraising Offer Needs Specificity:

  1. Donors like to know the details. Specificity in your offer will increase response rates to your appeal.
  2. Specificity in the gift string leads to a higher average gift. Check out our blog post about variables you can test in your gift string to boost the average gift.
  3. A key part of a strong stewardship strategy is letting your donors know the impact of their gift. By letting donors know what their money can do right in the gift string, you’re immediately stewarding your donors.


Specific Fundraising Offers Increase Client Results

For the Ronald McDonald House Charities® Chapters we work with, this specificity is successful as a cost-per-night offer. Example: A gift of $30 can provide 3 nights of comfort and care for a family whose child is receiving medical treatment at a nearby hospital.

When we first started using this offer with RMHC Chapters, we saw a 15% increase in response rate and a lift in average gift of $12.

These offers work for other types of nonprofit organizations too!

  • Feeding Organizations: Your gift of $10 will help provide 50 meals. 
  • Animal Welfare: A gift of $25 will help feed a shelter dog for a month. 

When you think about what your offer is, think about it like you’re having a conversation with your donor who is trying to get more details:

Organization: We need your help.
Donor: Why?
Organization: To help us meet the needs of those we serve.
Donor: How?
Organization: With a gift of $X.
Donor: What will my $X do?
Organization: It will help us continue our lifesaving programs by providing the means to do Y.

This process will help you craft a targeted fundraising offer: For your gift of $X, you help accomplish Y.


What About Raising Unrestricted Funds?

Some organizations might shy away from specific offers to avoid restricted funds. Be honest with your donors. Inform them that this offer meets one of your organization's many needs, and that their gift will be used in the area of most need. Our fundraising experts wrote a white paper about how to meet donors’ needs for specificity — and still raise unrestricted funds. Check out this free resource.

When you are crafting your next fundraising offer, don’t be the moody teenager and leave out the most important information. Be clear and specific about how donors can help those you serve!


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