The simple, 3-part formula for fundraising that works

We are embarking on a series of posts about what is probably the most important and impactful element of fundraising:

The Offer.

Advertisers often call it the “call to action.” Many fundraisers call it “the ask.”

It’s the thing you want your donor to do. The thing you’re “selling.”

It can be a seriously complex thing to think about, but the main thing to know about fundraising offers is its simple three-part foundation:

  1. A problem. Something that’s broken or incomplete in the world that needs to change. Sometimes it’s more of an opportunity than a problem. Either way, it’s something that needs a change.
  2. A solution. Maybe not the solution, but something that makes things better.
  3. An invitation for the donor to be part of the solution.

That’s it:

  1. A problem.
  2. A solution.
  3. An invitation

If your fundraising message includes those three elements, you are well on your way to success. You can even mess up other elements of the message and still succeed.

See more posts in this series.


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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.