The most misused phrase in fundraising

Your gift will…

This might be the most common phrase in fundraising.

And the most misused.

Your fundraising message should contain some version of Your gift will… pretty much every time. It’s a key statement that lets the donor know what their donation makes possible. Without that, you’ve left out one of the most important reasons donors will give: to make something good happen.

The misuse of Your gift will… is when it doesn’t follow an actual ask.

If you haven’t said, Please give, telling them what their unasked-for gift will do leads to lower response.

I think the common misuse of Your gift will… stems from a reluctance to come right out and directly request a donation. Maybe they’d rather assume a gift without making it clear that’s what they want.

Sure, many donors do give without it. They were planning to give in the first place.

But that’s not everyone. Some readers haven’t decided what they’re going to do, and may not even realize that a charitable donation is what’s on the table here. When you don’t ask, they may not know what you want.

To rephrase the Good Book, “Don’t ask, and you won’t receive.”

If you want people to donate, say so. (And say so more than once.)

Then tell them what their gift will do.


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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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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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