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Creating Donor-Centered Appeal Letters That Convert

Nonprofits are being encouraged to be more “donor-centered” in their communications, but I’ve found that some nonprofit staff don’t really understand what this means.  In the simplest of terms, it means replacing “our program” with “your gift” and demonstrating impact.  Sounds easy, right?

Unfortunately, many nonprofits have “tunnel vision” – they write appeals from their own perspective, not the perspective of the donor – then wonder why the checks aren’t rolling in.  Appeal letters need to be ABOUT THE DONOR and what their gift will do to make a difference, not ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION and their work.

Here’s an example –

Organization-centered ask:

“At XYZ nonprofit, we count on your support to impact more children in need of our services.

Donor-centered ask:

Your gift of $50 will help us provide snacks for children in our after-school program for a week.”

Which would move you to respond to the appeal? As a donor, I would want to know how my donation is going to be spent, wouldn’t you?

A seasoned fundraiser I greatly admire, Gail Perry, has a fantastic article about writing donor-centered appeal letters. Read her article here.

Wishing you greater nonprofit abundance and success!