5 Tips to Raise Much More from Your Current Donors

Your donor is overloaded. How do you cut thru the clutter?

Did you know that you can shape your message in a way that will dramatically improve your fundraising results?

HOW you deliver and shape your message has EVERYTHING to do with your fundraising success.

We are tackling this topic this month with my webinars for the Fundraising INSIDERS. (find out more here.)

I’ve got some of the best media people in the business showing us the new, latest techniques for getting more money out of the same number of donors.

It really IS possible to pull this off adding more channels (email plus innovative mail) to your appeal process.

Repeat the same message in different ways over and over.

Here are highlights of what we’ve learned so far to raise much more $$ from your current donors:

1. Repeat your message over and over and over.

The first step is to get your distracted donor’s attention.

It’s being the squeaky wheel – in a really nice way. It’s showing up repeatedly in her inbox, in her mail box, with a cheerful “don’t forget!” message.

It’s called multichannel marketing.

Repeating the same message in different forms, thru different media.

Farra Trompeter of Big Duck Marketing told the INSIDERS yesterday that this is the key component of the new strategies to raise more from the same group of donors – an email/mail campaign from mid-November to the end of December – all with the same theme.

Your Take Away: Keep your message consistent, and keep it coming – all fall – all the way to the end of the year.

Checklist: Does your message pass the repetition test?

How many times are you getting in front of your donors with your message between now and the end of the year?

2. Be simple, simple, simple.

Keep it really really simple!

Your poor overloaded donor does not want to think.

If you make him think, even a little bit, you may lose him.

Think of yourself – when you go thru your email, you read what you know will be the quick, short emails first.

The longer, more complex emails – you put aside to read later.

And do you ever read them later? Many times not!

So you need to simplify your message as much as possible.

Your donor needs you to lay out exactly what you are saying in plain words.

Your call to action needs to be completely clear.

Your Take Away: Over-simplify your letter and message. Even if you think it reads like a 5th grader, it will work for your donor.

Checklist: Does your letter pass the 5th grade reader test?

3.  Talk about the future, not the past.

Too many fundraising appeals start out with a nice list of what the organization has already accomplished.

Your donors want to know what you plan for the future, not the past.

BUT you know what your donor is interested in?

She is interested in what you want to do NEXT.

She doesn’t want to fund what you’ve already accomplished.
That’s old news.

But what she IS interested in is what’s coming up.

What do you want to do?
What’s your plan?

Your Take Away: How many people are you going to help? And how much will it cost? Lay it out!

Checklist: Does your email pass the future test? Or is it focusing on the past?

4. Make your donor an “offer.”

Now what does it mean – “an offer?”

Tom Ahern, in his INSIDERS interview last week, suggested that every single appeal needs a clear offer.
Here’s what the offer is: “What do you want your donor to fund?”

You can’t be vague about what you want your donor to invest in.

It’s really difficult to make an unrestricted general request – for the mission – for the overall organization. You’ll have a much harder time raising the money.

You need a big, clear donate button!

Penelope Burk says “your donors will give more if you let them restrict their gifts.”

Your Take Away: Make your ask as specific as you possibly can.

Checklist: Are you asking the donor to fund something specific?

5. Make it really, really easy to give.

Think about your distracted donor.

And think how distracted you are – when you are going thru your mail, or sorting your email.

You are at your computer, whizzing thru your favorite shopping site.

How many times have you filled up a shopping cart – but didn’t go all the way through with your purchase?

I do it all the time! And I bet you do too.

It’s called “shopping cart abandonment.”

Did you know that every single step you put between you and the donor increases your “shopping cart abandonment.”

  • Every extra required item on your donation form.
  • Every click the donor has to make before they find the donation form.
  • Every moment the donor has to spend filling out your reply card either on line or on paper.

Don’t muddle the process with too many steps.

Your Take Away: Simplify the steps your donor has to go through in order to give.

Checklist: How easy or difficult is it to make a gift? Ask a friend to go thru the process and tell you!


Please take a fresh look at your fall fundraising campaign. Maybe start from scratch. Plan it way ahead of time. Plan email appeals along with the mail appeal. These strategies, when well implemented, really CAN raise multiple times more from the same donors!

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!