4 steps to fundraising that moves donors to action

Here’s a helpful framework for any fundraising project you might tackle, from the NextAfter Blog, at Bust Through Writer’s Block and Craft More Engaging Appeals with P.A.S.O.

Those four letters stand for Problem-Agitation-Solution-Offer, and here’s how you put them to work:

  1. Problem. Fundraising is all about problems donors can help solve. That means you need to start with a problem. It needs to be real, vivid, and understandable. Do that, and your fundraising is off to the races!
  2. Agitation. Help donors really care about the problem. Show them how serious it is (but not how huge it is — that does exactly opposite of what you want to do). Tell a story about someone impacted by the problem. Show the donor how the problem affects them. Speak to their hearts.
  3. Solution. This is key. Make it clear donors are part of the solution to the problem. Show how their giving will make a tangible, meaningful difference that they can understand. (The most common cause of fundraising failure is that it’s about a solution but not a problem. The second biggest cause is that it’s about a problem with no solution.)
  4. Outcome. Give the donor a clear picture of what will happen when they give. Not what has already happened, but the immediate future that they will help bring about. They need to believe that their solution to the problem is real. (And then, after they give, keep showing them evidence that they are helping make a meaningful difference.)


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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.