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How Writers Create Compelling Fundraising Content

Fundraising: How Writers Create Compelling Fundraising Content

How Writers Create Compelling Fundraising Content.

The Art of the Ask: Writing for a Successful Fundraising Campaign

Fundraising campaigns live or die over it: convincing people to invest large sums of money. Impassioned pleas pull on heartstrings and descriptions of your organization’s successes help tell your story, but crafting truly effective fundraising content requires a strategic approach with a hefty dose of marketing and messaging savvy.

So how does a marketing copywriter transform a worthy cause into compelling messaging that resonates with donors? If you missed it, listen in to a podcast about How a Writer Approaches Fundraising Content.

Research Like a Marketer

Just like a marketing campaign, successful fundraising campaign content begins with due diligence and planning. Writers must immerse themselves in the organization’s mission, impact, brand, target audience and competition. A quick note about competition: It’s not always, or even often, competition between similar causes. It’s competition over the same dollars and donor pool in a given region that increases the challenge.

It can be difficult for a nonprofit organization — or someone writing for an organization — to think in terms of “brand.” This is at the heart of why so many worthy organizations struggle to capture attention and contributions. But while you might not think of your organization as a commercial commodity, product or service, you are in fact selling something — an aspiration, an opportunity to be part of something meaningful, a chance at making an impact or leaving a valuable legacy.

Given that your largest donors may be plunking down the monetary equivalent of a yacht or a home, it pays to understand how your brand is perceived and how it interacts with the expectations and motivations of donors.

Regardless, research is key, informing the development of a strategic plan that identifies key components and tactics and lays the groundwork for campaign messaging and content — all before a single word is written.

Campaign Themes and Case Statements

Research & Planning (shown as sticky notes on a wall)When it comes to content, fundraising campaigns draw from a diverse toolkit.  Feasibility studies, statements of need, ask letters, videos, landing pages and various collateral materials all play their part. However, from a marketing perspective, the campaign theme and case statement are like power tools.

The campaign theme is a memorable, shareable identity that gets attention, captures the campaign’s essence and creates a desire to know more. The best themes evoke emotion and contemplation and highlight the value and importance of the campaign. Coupled with a professionally designed logo, it becomes a brand within a brand, representing not only the campaign itself but the organization as a whole.

The case statement, on the other hand, delves into the heart of the matter. It is a designed piece that typically functions as both a sales presentation guide and a leave-behind piece. Its sole purpose is to help compel donors to open their wallets. Imagine it as a persuasive pitch tailored specifically for large donors. The strategy?

  • Assume your target audience is discerning — These are people of means who demand evidence and impact.
  • Establish the validity of the campaign — Clearly articulate the problem at hand and why it matters to individuals, the community and the donor.
  • Tap into emotions and reason — Empathy and compassion, yes, but bring the data and facts, too.
  • Get to the “why” — Highlight the lasting impact and legacy associated with contributing.
  • Easy does it — Make it clear, convenient and hassle-free to donate.

Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones

Finally, let’s talk about the pitfalls. The biggest mistakes organizations make often stem from neglecting marketing expertise and focus. As mentioned above, many nonprofits struggle with brand awareness, and asking people to give large sums of money to an unknown entity is not a favorable position from which to launch a campaign.

Likewise, focusing too heavily on what your organization does, rather than why it matters enough to warrant significant donations, leaves potential donors unmoved. Remember, fundraising is essentially selling something, and just like any product, it needs a compelling value proposition.

That value proposition better holds value for large donors. Understanding their motivations is crucial. More often than not, they seek significant impact and lasting legacies. Craft your message to resonate with their aspirations and watch your fundraising efforts take off as never before.

Great fundraising content — and all that comes before a single word is written — is the foundation to build your campaign on, transforming your ask into an irresistible call to action. Remember, it’s not just about what you do; it’s about why donors should care, and ultimately, what’s in it for them.

If you have questions about creating winning content for your fundraising campaign, or you’re looking to partner with fundraising professionals who can move the needle for your organization, contact AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising at 319.268.9151 or

Written by:

Graham is a marketing superstar. He has over 25 years of experience and specializes in brand development, content and client discovery. Graham is an expert at assimilating information from multiple sources and converting/condensing that knowledge into a few words that get attention and compel action. If someone were to play Graham in a movie, it’d be a mash-up of Brad Pitt from “A River Runs Through It,” Meryl Streep from “Julia & Julia” and Jimmy Stewart from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He is an avid cook and especially likes Wisconsin Surf & Turf (venison and seafood). Graham moves the needle with words that connect clients’ offerings with their audiences’ needs.