The power of YES in fundraising

It’s easier to say yes if you’ve recently said yes.

It’s harder to say yes if you’ve just said no.

Successful fundraising builds a momentum of yes. It starts with easy yeses and works its way toward, “Yes, I’ll give!”

This is often what’s behind survey fundraising. They tend to lob softball questions that are easy to answer with a yes. It’s not useful research, but it can be good fundraising. Do you want good to prevail over evil? Yes!

It’s also why so often the fundraising call to action starts with the phrase YES! I want to…

So construct your fundraising message so the donor has plenty of opportunities to say yes:

  • If you ask rhetorical questions, make sure the answer is yes.
  • Tell them things they know and can easily say yes to rather than surprise them with believe-it-or-not facts.
  • Tell them things about themselves that they know (or hope) to be true.
  • Paint an attractive picture of what will happen if they give. Only a psychopath can say no to that!

The more yes you get, the more responses.

This post first appeared on December 22, 2011.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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