Easier Said Than Done: Elements of a Great Fundraising Offer
If the problem is hunger, the solution should be food — even if your organizational goals center around economic empowerment, civil society, or anything similarly lofty and abstract. Remember, those things are effective at eliminating hunger because they result in food. Most donors aren't going to follow the winding trail that leads from civil society to a child rescued from death's grip. And why should they? Do you know how your cell phone works, or do you just want it to work?
The best offers connect the problem/solution to the donor's pocketbook. That plays out in three important ways:
● It's specific and tangible. That can be anything from a meal that costs $1.79 to specific research that can continue with a gift of $25. The more concrete cost almost always works better.
● It's the right size for the donor. If a donor has given you $25, asking for $1,000 is unlikely to work. So is asking a $1,000 donor to give $25.
● It's a good deal. Everyone loves a bargain. The best offers meet that need by giving donors "bang for the buck." (That exact phrase has been brought up by donors in virtually every nonprofit focus group I've observed.) Whatever the cost of the offer, it has to seem amazingly low for what it accomplishes.
Give your donor specific reasons not to delay her response. If a donor puts the decision aside for later, the chance of it happening drops dramatically. If you did a good job describing the problem (see element No. 1), you already have a lot of urgency. Make sure to complete that with things like:
● A meaningful deadline for response. Maybe a window of opportunity will close. Maybe the problem will get a lot worse. The more real, connected to the problem and nonarbitrary your deadline is, the better.