Strengthen Your Fundraising Appeal With the “IPM” Formula

, ,


Here’s a very smart, efficient way to present your fundraising appeal.

It forces you to be crystal clear about the three fundamental parts of any formal Ask:

  • What impact it will make (I)
  • What project it will fund (P)
  • How much we want to raise (M)

These are the three basic questions you need to answer when you seek funding.

You can’t just get away with a generic “Please help us.”

Or even worse:

“We work so hard and do such good work – you should give to us.”

Try the IPM Formula and add power to your fundraising appeal:

  • What impact you want to make 
  • What project you want to fund
  • What money it will take to fund it.

This formula works because:

  • It makes you define a concrete goal.
  • It requires you to connect the donor to something specific.
  • You have to talk about your project and what it will accomplish.

And this formula is very compelling to donors, because it presents your effort in a precise, easy to understand format.

Here’s how you use the IPM formula:

“We seek to create (Impact) with this (Project) that will cost $$$ (Money).

Let’s break down the components for the IPM formula:

1. Define the IMPACT the overall project can make.

Remember, what donors are really giving to.

They are giving to the change they want to see in the world. These wonderful people want to make a real, concrete difference.

Sure they are interested in the project  — but they are more interested in what will happen once the project is funded.

How will the world be different?

  • What new joy and happiness will the donor’s gift bring to the world?
  • What pain and suffering will the donor’s gift ease?

This is the heart of fundraising.

Always focus on the impact. It’s the most important thing you have going for you!

When you add the impact and the project into an Ask Conversation, you make it not so much about the money. Instead you make it about the powerful good that your donor will be doing in the world.

 2. Define Your Project.

What exactly do you want to fund? What are you actually wanting to accomplish?

Is it food for xxx kids? Is it yyy cleaner rivers? Is it zzzzz concerts?

Again, donors’ generosity is triggered by the specificity of your appeal.

It’s really hard to raise money for “general and administrative.” But you can raise money for operational costs by framing it this way: 

You could make it specific by saying: 

“Our facility serves over 20,000 kids and families each year, and it costs xxx to run these programs.

“We are raising xxx this year to provide a safe, nurturing place for kids and families to get the help they need. You will touch many lives thru your generous gift.

3. Request for a Certain Amount of Money

You always need to say exactly how much you need to raise.

When you are specific, you show up as better organized. That is because your ask is more concrete – not some vague wish or foggy notion.

A firm goal makes your appeal much stronger. In addition, it shows that you have done some planning and some homework.

You are defining what you want to accomplish within a certain timeframe. You have an well-defined initiative.  

Just about everybody in the fundraising world will tell you that you HAVE TO HAVE A DOLLAR GOAL if you really want stretch gifts. A goal inspires donors to dig deeper.

Please don’t be one of those nonprofits who say “we need to raise as much as possible!”

Sure that may be true, but it’s not going to inspire your donor!

Change Up the Order and Make it MPI:

Try this formula in different formats, based on the context. You can make it Money, Project, Impact (MPI) when you are writing thank you letters, for example. 

Claire Axelrad puts it this way:

  • The need or opportunity
  • What we do to address the need
  • How you can help

BOTTOM LINE: Strengthen Your Fundraising Appeal With the IPM Formula

Everybody has to have goals. Be clear about them to your donors.

Try shaping your ask in this format – and then see if the dollars don’t start rolling in faster!