If you want donations, you have to ask for them

The missing ingredient that causes more fundraising to fail than probably any other: It doesn’t actually ask people to donate.

No matter how important your cause … no matter how strong your brand and visibility … no matter how connected your donors …

If you don’t say Please donate, you’ll get fewer donations.

You can’t assume that just because you’ve sent donors your Summer Appeal, they know that you want them to respond with a donation.

Here are some statements from fundraising that don’t quite ask:

  • Your support is appreciated.
  • Join the movement to help children in need.
  • Thank you in advance for your consideration in giving to us this holiday season.
  • Philanthropy is important to our mission.

They almost ask the donor to donate.

But a hurried, skimming reader could easily miss the hint.

If you want someone to give, say so directly.


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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.