12 Tips for Bulking Up Your Offer
A strong offer can make all the difference in helping your organization raise more money from prospects.
In his session at the DMA Nonprofit Federation's 2009 New York Nonprofit Conference last week, Tom Gaffny, principal and founder of Tom Gaffny Consulting, examined fundraising offers to demonstrate what works and what doesn't.
Gaffny said the key with offers is to tell people what they want to hear — not what you want to say. People don't give because you have needs. They give because you meet needs. And the biggest need you meet is theirs.
He offered attendees the following 10 rules for constructing great offers:
Rule No. 1: Have one
Four questions you should ask about every appeal are:
- Is there an offer somewhere in this piece?
- Will my target audience care about it?
- Is it about "you" as much as "me"?
- Does it jump off the reply slip?
Rule No. 2: Give them a big promise
Gaffny showed an example of a mailing by Mercy Home for Boys and Girls’ "Legacy of Miracles Fund Challenge Grant." Just the name "Legacy of Miracles" brings home this point about giving donors a big promise.
Rule No 3: Take the "bumper sticker" test
Can your message be distilled into a few words? "We had a need to raise money for Covenant House so they could provide shelter and care for kids," Gaffny said. "We called it, simply, a Bed for Every Kid’s Head.
"Second, we wanted to create a monthly-giving program to feed kids at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. We called it Daily Bread,” he shared. "In both instances, we were able to distill a complicated offer into just a few words."
Rule No. 4: Leverage "industry controls"
- Annual fund
- Supporter/member drive
- Challenge fund/matching gift
- Emergency fun
- Free! (premiums)
Rule No. 5: Keep it bite size
Focus on one thing — one amount that you’re trying to raise or you'd like donors to give. Focus on one person (tell a story).