Communicating with Donors: It’s Not About You

August 28, 2013

mirrorAs we round the corner into early fall, many nonprofits are preparing for their year-end annual appeal letters. Don’t get started too late.

According to a Google study, the number of donation-related searches was up significantly in September 2012 vs. August 2012. Engines are already being revved up.

When you carefully consider the dollar amount you need to raise, how critical the funding is, and what you will use it for, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in your organization’s needs. As you begin composing thoughts on the language and design of your appeal, go beyond yourselves!

A recent blog post in the Chronicle of Philanthropy reminds us that successful interactions with donors focus on their philanthropic needs.

After you have drafted your communication, follow up by asking yourself if you have…

  1. compellingly explained who will benefit from a gift and how they will benefit.
  2. thanked the donor for past support.
  3. shared a meaningful story of recent success.

All of these speak to a donor’s need to make an impact and be appreciated—not to help your organization raise money for its own sake. Supporters want to directly benefit people, places, animals—whatever it is you are doing that is important to them.

What has worked well in your organization’s appeals? We love examples.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


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