New Year’s Resolution #5: Be Direct But Inviting

January 9, 2013

needsThere is great value in being clear and specific as you communicate your needs to potential donors and funders. In your profile in The Giving Partner, the needs statement tells the world about your nonprofit’s five greatest needs with an ultimate goal of having them recognized and fulfilled.

search for organizations in The Giving Partner can give you some excellent examples of effective needs statements and others that could be more crisp and compelling. What appeals to you when looking at them through the eyes of a potential donor?

We have some ideas for you, based on feedback from donors who have enjoyed looking at profiles in The Giving Partner.

The most effective needs statements in The Giving Partner…

  • Use bullet points for easy reading.
  • Give examples of specific items, projects or focal points to share how a donor’s gift could make an impact.
  • Share dollar amounts or dollar ranges that are attainable for donors of various means.

Needs statements that could use more love…

  • Are very lengthy.
  • Include statements/phrases like “retire our debt” or open with “because the economy has been so terrible.”
  • List “needs” that are vague, leaving donors with little understanding of how their gift will make a difference.

Including operational needs in your statement is absolutely okay; the quest for operating support is real and can be compelling when framed the right way.

An organization makes the best use of its needs statement if updated regularly or as needs change. It’s so nice to have a platform where donors and anyone in the community viewing your nonprofit profile can get a real-time picture of what you’re seeking. Use it!

Being direct and inviting at the same time is an art form. But it is one worth practicing. We face the same challenge every day in our work.

-Susie Bowie
Director of Nonprofit Strategy
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


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