10 things you need to know to move donors to action

The most important thing you have to say in every fundraising message is the call to action.

Effective fundraising is all about action: The donor’s action. Without it, you are relying on the donor translating your blah-blah-blah into their action. A lot of donors do that. But you raise money when you put the action in front of them.

Here’s a post from Development Consulting Solutions Blog — The top 10 ways to strengthen your donor Call to Action and raise more money — that focuses on how to improve your call to action in direct mail:

  1. Have a “Call to Action!” It’s important to actually ask for a donation.
  2. More than one instance of that ask throughout your letter. Three should be the absolute minimum.
  3. Don’t save the ask until the very bottom of the appeal letter. Get to it quickly! And often.
  4. Use emphasis in your letters. Underlin, italics, bold, etc.
  5. When you make the ask, make the ask. Be direct and clear.
  6. Give the donor a problem to solve. They don’t give to fund your organization — they give to make something happen.
  7. Be specific in your asks. Make it clear what their donation will do.
  8. Don’t assume in your asks. Your donor doesn’t know the background. You have to tell them why this matters.
  9. Don’t use links when you can use buttons. (or maybe do. There is evidence that links can be more effective than buttons in some cases.)
  10. Use the P.S. as a way to reiterate your Call to Action. The P.S. is the most-read bit of copy in your letter. Use it to ask — for some readers, it’s the only thing they read!


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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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