Fundraisers often find themselves caught between two opposing conditions:
- Motivating donors to give by describing specific needs that they can help meet by supporting specific solutions;
- Raising unrestricted funds, meaning money that may be targeted for any areas of need, to be determined by the organization.
How can a fundraiser be both specific and nonspecific in their ask — and still hope to raise the necessary funds for their cause?
Here’s the solution in three easy steps:
- Set the Context
Somewhere in the body of the message that’s otherwise focused on a specific project, opportunity, or challenge, include a sentence like one of these:
“Your gift will not only provide hungry children with nutritious food, but it will also help poor and hungry people in many other ways.”
“That simple Thanksgiving meal you make possible can be a first step of their climb out of homelessness. We’ll help them fight addictions, learn job skills, and work with them at whatever it takes to transform their lives.”
“Your generosity will not only rescue innocent puppies, but save all kinds of animals that are helpless and in trouble.”
The purpose of setting the context is to show donors what their gift does, big picture — to show them how that specific offer that ignites their passion is part of something larger.
- Widen the Fundraising Ask
Make sure the action line on the reply coupon or online giving form includes a phrase like: “Here’s my gift to provide hungry children with food and other help.”
This simply makes it clear that the donation does more than the single-focus offer.
- Add a Disclaimer
Include a line of copy on the back of the reply device or bottom of the giving form that is something like: “Your gift will be used to fund our entire mission.”
This should be you organization’s official policy for how funds are distributed.
A Marketplace-Proven and Accountant-Approved Approach
Most fundraisers are charged with raising unrestricted funds. The problem is, donors are more likely to respond to specific (that is, restricted) calls to action. Here’s the good news: You can meet donors’ needs for specificity — and still raise unrestricted funds. Read the full white paper.
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