TrueSense Marketing  ●  5/10/2021

Make Your Donors an Offer They Can’t Refuse

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I’ll bet you can’t find a definition of “fundraising offer” in any of the many glossaries of fundraising terminology our industry publishes. I know, because I tried. Which is odd, given that everything that makes a fundraising appeal successful revolves around the offer.

The nod to Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, in the title of this article is intentional. The objective of any offer, whether from the mob or in your next fundraising appeal, is to make it easy to say, “Yes.”


Definition of a Fundraising Offer

So, let’s start with a definition. What’s an offer? Quite simply, a fundraising offer lets a donor know what good her gift will do right now.

That’s it! Although simple to define, not always simple to pull off well.


Impact That Motivates Your Donor

Many fundraising appeals get lost in the cause, the need, the story, or the call to action. Don’t get me wrong, these are all vital elements of an appeal and need to be there.

But often what’s missing is connecting the donor to the outcome of her gift: letting her know what impact her support has on the success of your mission.


Make Her a Partner

When you make an empathetic connection with your donor, often through the stories you tell that demonstrate the need, she will then want to come alongside you as a partner. This is when her impact becomes part of your offer.

For instance, “You can help feed children and families who are facing the rapidly growing threat of hunger being caused by the pandemic.”



Now that you’ve told her why her partnership is critical, tell her specifically what her dollars will do. Such as, “Your generous gift of $100 today will help feed a family of four for two weeks.”


Add Urgency

Add a sense of urgency with elements like a deadline for matching her gift, or the consequences of waiting (Children are going to bed hungry tonight), and you’ve created a powerful offer.


So, to sum up, the elements of a powerful offer include:

  • Motivating impact
  • Exclusive partnership
  • Gift specificity
  • Urgency

If your fundraising offer contains all of these elements, not even Don Corleone will be able to refuse to donate. Capisce?


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