One of the greatest things we can do for our fellow human beings is to consider them. We can consider their thoughts, their feelings, their circumstances and, then, we can use those considerations to make decisions about how we’ll act.
And, when it comes to fundraising for nonprofits, “consider” is a magic word.
We often see appeal letters using this language when asking for donations as in, “Please consider making a gift today.” It’s a much softer and respectful option than popular alternatives like “Can we count on your gift today?” and “Make a donation now.”
‘Won’t you consider?’ is not at all pushy or presumptive.
After all, when we ask someone to consider taking a specific action, rather than telling them what to do we are subtly showing that we trust their judgement and that we believe in the merits of our cause. It’s as if to say, “we know you make good decisions and we trust that you’ll see the importance of providing support.”
How, then, might we expand on this magic word and use the concept of ‘considering’ to inspire even more donations? What are the ways we can drive home this theme and prompt even more consideration for our cause? Here are three ideas:
By Asking Questions:
Pose moral questions that are focused on the donor. “Is it important to you to stand up for the things you believe in?” “Do you believe that children deserve protection?”
In this way, you are asking prospects to consider what they believe about themselves and how those beliefs intersect with your mission.
By Presenting Scenarios:
Describe what reality looks like with, or without, their support.
You are asking prospects to consider the benefits/consequences of acting/not acting.
By Providing Social Proof:
Demonstrate the support you’ve received from others - especially those who may be viewed as influential to your prospect.
By offering social proof, you are asking prospects to consider their association with others and their position within a group.
Your ultimate goal is to have prospective donors decide to support you by making a donation. And the degree to which you have inspired them to consider your appeal is the crux of their decision-making process. If you can motivate the reader to consider you, the battle is half won.
What about a sense of urgency? Isn’t “consider” too soft of an approach? The short answer: no. You can use ‘consider’ and still demonstrate the necessity for support and the serious nature of your appeal through the stories and examples you provide. Artfully crafting a strong, compelling narrative does not require forceful language...and being respectful is not weak or soft.
After all, everyone appreciates consideration. Asking your donor or prospect to consider supporting you is, well, the considerate thing to do.
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