What Is A Fundraising Appeal?
A year-end fundraising appeal is the persuasive content a nonprofit organization uses to ask for financial support for at the end of the year (aka during the height of the giving season). The appeal you craft will be the backbone of your year-end campaign strategy, and it will inform all aspects of messaging over the course of that campaign.
Heading into year-end, a specific fundraising appeal might be something like a smaller GivingTuesday Campaign, or a larger campaign spanning the month of December.
Take a look at Fiver’s Giving Tuesday campaign below. Using a specific story and words from one of their alumni, Fiver effectively and emotionally conveys the impact their organization has on participants, and asks their audience to donate today.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the benefits and components of a great year-end fundraising appeal, so you can make yours as strong as possible!
3 Benefits Of A Great Fundraising Appeal
1. The Best Year-End Fundraising Appeals Drive More Donations + Increases Sharing
Developing a strong fundraising appeal is the first step to getting your audience (your donors and soon-to-be donors!) invested in your campaign. This is your opportunity to draw donors in with your story and get them personally invested in your cause.
When your donors are invested emotionally, you can bet they’ll also invest financially.
Additionally, strong appeals can inspire donors to share your cause in myriad ways, via word-of-mouth with friends and family, and also online, via social media and email, increasing your reach each step of the way.
2. Great Fundraising Appeals Increase Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
A strong fundraising appeal also puts you in a great position to recruit peer-to-peer fundraisers, giving your audience personal motivation and investment in your cause. As you build out your appeal, think of the tools, stories, and language your fundraisers might need, and put this together in a toolkit to make sure it’s as easy as possible for them to fundraise on your behalf.
3. A Great Year-End Fundraising Appeal Sets You Up For Donor Retention
And, of course, a strong appeal results in stronger donations, and stronger donor retention. If your appeal makes an impact on someone, they are far more likely to remember you. And if they feel emotionally invested in your cause today, they’ll be all the more willing to donate the next time you solicit them for a campaign.
Make donations as simple as possible for your audience. Check out CauseVox’s easy-to-use smart donation forms to make sure you’re maximizing your donation potential.
Where To Use Your Fundraising Appeal
1. Use Your Full Appeal Via Direct Mail + On An Online Campaign Site
A strong fundraising appeal will be flexible and applicable across various platforms. Generally, your full fundraising appeal will be most persuasive on a year-end campaign site and through direct mail. You can share the full appeal in one piece of direct mail—a postcard or letter. Your larger fundraising appeal will likely appear in its entirety on your online fundraising site.
2. Share Your Fundraising Appeal Through An Email Campaign
Schedule out your email campaign. Will you send your appeal in one, thoughtfully designed email? You might also consider splitting the full appeal across a few different emails, allowing you to focus on different parts of your messaging.
Make sure you think about the timing of your year-end eblast schedule.
3. Incorporate Segments Of Your Appeal On Social Media
After you’ve crafted your full appeal, you’ll be able to select different, smaller segments to use in social media posts, smaller email campaigns, peer-to-peer appeals, and other multi-channel marketing asks. These posts offer opportunities for tailoring and expansion, as well as chances to share any additional visual footage you have that might be particularly compelling.
4. Repurpose For Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
In peer-to-peer campaigns, you’ll have the groundwork laid to translate the appeal into personal fundraiser toolkits that your peer-to-peer fundraisers can use to raise money on your behalf. Use language from your appeal to set up default appeal content for an individual’s personal fundraising page.
Check out part of Fiver’s toolkit here:
Utilizing CauseVox’s peer-to-peer fundraising tools, you can make it easy for your audience to donate, share out, and join the campaign as a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Dorcas Ministries took advantage of the ability to customize these buttons on their appeal website, encouraging donors to “Become a Virtual Table Captain.”
6 Components Of A Great Fundraising Appeal
1. Make Your Year-End Fundraising Appeal Succinct + Readable
Remember that audiences have short attention spans, and short appeals typically outperform overly detailed ones. You should be conveying just the information your potential donors need to decide to make a gift.
Ideally, your appeal will be somewhere between 300 and 600 works, with short, digestible paragraphs, and images to break up the text. Consider using different heading sizes, different colored text, or bolding specific text to make sure certain statements stand out.
2. Explain What You’re Fundraising For
Next, make sure to clearly explain the purpose of your fundraising appeal. What does your organization do? What do donations to this initiative support, specifically? If you can fit in examples of how you’ve made an impact in the past, even better. In the below example, Meat Fight clearly articulates the projects their funds will support.
3. Share Why You’re Fundraising
Once you’ve covered those bases, explain to your audience why you’re fundraising at this particular moment. Add any context here to help your donors understand how and why you’re offering the right solution for your problem, and who will benefit from your fundraising. Meat Fight gives their audience the “why” behind their mission:
4. Tell A Story
From here, tell your story. This is your moment to create emotional connections with your audience and your cause, so make it count! If you’re wondering where to start with your story, remember to include what things were like before your organization, how your organization has helped, and what ongoing impact your organization continues to have. The best appeals will include photos and corresponding videos to further illustrate your work.
In the example below, Fiver uses a specific story of an alumnus who benefited from their program. Using Justin’s words from his graduation speech, Fiver effectively communicates the impact their organization had on one specific child.
Supporting the story with a photo brings Justin’s story full-circle, and helps the audience extrapolate and understand the larger context of children Fiver supports.
5. Cast A Vision
After telling your story, show your donors the future, by casting a vision. Let them know exactly what will result from reaching your fundraising goal, and what the consequences would be of not reaching your goal. Make sure to tie this to your organization’s vision and/or mission, and try to transition from a specific story to the story of many.
In Dorcas Ministries Season of Thanksgiving Appeal, the nonprofit clearly articulates in detail how donations will impact the organization in the coming year.
6. Call To Action
Lastly, end with a strong call to action, asking your audience to donate with urgency. Be straightforward with this request – now is not the time for a soft ask! Tell them why it is important that they donate now and invite them into your story. Fiver’s CTA concisely reminds donors of their impact, and asks them to give today.
Want to learn more about this framework and see real examples of year-end fundraising appeals? Watch our Fundraising Appeal Throwdown on-demand:
Ready to write the best year-end fundraising appeal? Use this framework to get started!
- Explain what you’re fundraising for
- Explain why you’re fundraising
- Tell a story
- Cast a Vision
- Create strong a call to action
Create Your Online Year-End Campaign In Less Time + Raise More
Are you ready to build out a digital fundraising campaign for all your year-end fundraising needs?
CauseVox makes it easy for you to set up and launch a digital fundraising campaign site that helps you raise more with less effort online this year-end.
Easily brand, customize, and start sharing your campaign in minutes.