NOTE: This post was originally published October 4, 2012 as a guest blog on the Taylor Studios website: http://www.taylorstudios.com/blog/index.php/2012/10/04/donor-pool-2/
Improve Your Fundraising Success Rate with Outcomes-based Appeals
By far and away the most vital part of fundraising is the ask. The simple act of asking for what you want is a powerful, essential, and – some would say – scary activity. But the old saying is true – ask and you shall receive (at least some of the time). Asking is risky – someone might say ‘no’. And most things worth doing involve some risk. If you ask enough, you are guaranteed to be turned down some of the time. So how can you improve your success rate?
First, think of fundraising as any other kind of business venture. All businesses, whether B2B or B2C, have to ask their customers for their business or risk losing ground. Of course, the charitable donor isn’t expecting a product or service in return for their donation. But, donors do view their gifts as investments. Their ROI is the change that your organization makes in the world: think impact, outcomes, and lives transformed.
In nonprofit fundraising one of the keys to greater success is framing your ask as an opportunity. Many organizations rely on ‘needs based’ approaches, and those can work, but what really energizes donors is the opportunity, the flip side of the need. So instead of helping fulfill a need, you’re creating an opportunity to save lives and change lives for the better. People love to help other people and donors are no different. If you can frame your work and the outcomes of your programs in terms of transforming the lives of people who would otherwise not be so served, you will raise more money for your cause.
The nonprofit economy is just as competitive as the for profit world. Donors aren’t thinking ‘how can I get the greatest ROI?’ but instead, they ask ‘what is the best investment for my resources to achieve my goals?’ Offer your donors amazing outcomes and you will inspire them to choose your cause.
Tim Montague is a marketing and fundraising consultant based in Central Illinois. Find out more about his work to inspire Growth for the Greater Good! at