It’s nearly time for year-end appeals. Before you write yours, keep this in mind:
Your year-end appeal should be as specific as possible.
I get a lot of appeals from nonprofits. A LOT of appeals. And many of them leave me scratching my head by the time I get to the end. They’ve told me a beautiful story, but I don’t know what they want me to do after reading it. The payment slip asking me for my payment information is my only clue.
Don’t leave your donors scratching their heads. When you send them an appeal, tell them what you want them to do.
The more specific the ask, the more compelling it will be.
Here are a few examples of what a specific ask looks like:
Weaker: “Please support our mission by donating at www.thisisadonationpage.com.”
Stronger: “A gift of $50 will make an impact that will last well into 2019. Would you please consider donating $50 to feed our community next year?”
Weaker: “A donation of any amount can make a difference.”
Stronger: “Please make the holidays brighter for families in our community by giving to this year’s Food for the Holidays program.”
Weaker: “Help us feed the hungry this year.”
Stronger: “A $50 gift can give 2 families a Christmas dinner they can’t buy on their own. Would you please make that gift?”
“But Abby!” you’re thinking. “What if my donors can’t give a $50 gift?”
That happens! And it’s okay! The best way to work around it is to add an “other” option to your remittance slip or donation form.
Donation Options on Remittance Slips
On your remittance slip, include options like:
“Yes! I would like to donate $50 to feed two families this Christmas.”
“I would like to donate a different amount! ______”
Alternatively, you could include different gift sizes on your remittance slip and give donors the option to check a box or fill in an “Other” amount. Be careful here: adding too many options or too much detail to a remittance slip can be overwhelming!
Here’s a tip for remittance slips: you can include more compelling information (and make it easier for donors—particularly elderly donors—to make a gift) on your remittance slip by using a full-page payment slip instead of a dinky tear-off slip. Have you ever tried to fit an entire street address on a 2-inch line? It’s a nightmare.
Donation Options on Donation Forms
Online donation forms can function similarly—include a few suggested donation amounts that correspond to the ask you made in your appeal.
A quick note about this: at Qgiv, we’ve noticed that including suggested donation amounts can inspire people to give larger gifts. Asking donors to give a $50 gift may be the CTA (call to action) in your appeal, but it’s worth including the option to give $100, $200, or even more.
When using suggested amounts on your donation form, try including a description of what each amount can achieve. In this appeal, you could try something like:
$150 — buy complete Christmas dinners for six families
$100 — buy complete Christmas dinners for four families
$50 — buy complete Christmas dinners for two families
$25 — help pay to deliver Christmas dinners
As you write your year-end appeals, think very hard about what you actually want your donors to do. Do you want them to donate? How much do you want them to donate? Do you want them to share your message with a friend? Do you want them to sign up to volunteer with you next year?
Decide what you want your donors to do, and then ask them to do that thing.
Give them options, of course. Not everyone will be able to give you a $50 gift. Some people will opt to give less. Some people will opt to give more. But, at the end of a year-end appeal, your donors should know exactly what you want them do, exactly what difference they’ll make, and exactly how to offer their support.