Nonprofit impact (and needs) are significant right now and most are working diligently to convey that to their supporters. But how to do this effectively while being sensitive to the times is the crucial question. In this second piece of a two-part post, we share what kind of language is working in nonprofit appeals. If you missed the first piece which features language to avoid, be sure to review that as well by clicking here.
“These past months have created challenges for people across our city, including individuals who never thought they might be in this position. We are committed to continuing to be there for those that need us, and as a result your help is more meaningful to us and the people we support than ever. If your situation allows you to contribute, thank you for considering making a gift today.”
Acknowledge that not all are in a position to give, even if they maybe once were, but that their ongoing support matters.
“If you or someone you know needs access to services such as PROGRAM or PROGRAM, contact us…”
Offer ways to connect to your services, if appropriate, in your funder appeals. Before, there was likely a strict divide: there were funders and there were service recipients. But this line is blurring and by including normalizing language around accessing your services, you serve your mission while stewarding your supporters in their time of need. It also humanizes all of us, connects the mission to the dollars and recognizes that we all may know someone (or be someone) who could be affected and served by the mission.
“We have had to make some difficult changes these past months. PROGRAM was temporarily postponed since it became difficult to meaningfully offer it with the current safety precautions. The corresponding staff have been reassigned where possible, though it has resulted in the need to eliminate a position to reallocate those funds.”
Describe where you have pivoted. What programs have been created? Where has funding shifted? Have you put something on hold or had to make structural changes? Supporters want to know. They want to feel like the nonprofit is actively working to make the smartest operating decisions that will ensure its continued operations. Proactive transparency and leadership in difficult times is usually respected and valued.
“During the fall season, need for our services jumps significantly, and we will require $NEED AMOUNT$ to continue to provide the important level of service to maintain the dignity of those that rely on our services.”
Normally, we would not encourage appeals to include language on specific budget shortfalls and windows. Generally, this is not compelling for funders as they typically give based off their needs and opportunities first. But in these times, it is important to convey the urgency and timeliness of your needs.
“Securing $NEED AMOUNT$ in the coming weeks will ensure that we can meet the current level of service required, and the anticipated surge over the holiday season, as we continue to operate in this new environment.”
Share your plan to meet funding gaps and give some longer-term vision of hope for your nonprofit’s stability. While no one can guess what challenge will come next and how it may affect nonprofits, nonprofits are encouraged to share their plans based on the current knowns. This helps build confidence in the organization’s leadership and signals to funders that the organization continues to be a worthy investment.
“As the situation evolves, our Executive Director will continue to provide the latest updates on our blog. To stay up to date, be sure to subscribe by visiting us at LINK.”
Offer a secondary call to action for those who choose not to, or are not able to, donate right now. This continues the connection and creates an opportunity for a soft ask in executive updates or newsletters.
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