The Difference Between Fundraising Copy that Brings in More Money and Copy that Gets Ignored

by Heather Stewart

Writing a fundraising case for support often fills fundraisers with dread.  It becomes an insurmountable task (in their eyes) and the sole reason for any success – or failure – of a fundraising campaign.

Of course, that’s not true but what is clear is that a well-crafted case that catches the donor’s attention and speaks to their interests IS the first step in the right direction to encouraging their gift, so it’s important to get it right.

I’d recommend Tom Ahern’s book, ‘Seeing Through a Donor’s Eyes’ to anyone struggling to know where to start.  It’s an excellent read for anyone struggling to write a case that grabs attention and hits the right fundraising messages.  Even if you’ve written many before (as I have), it helps to refresh your thinking about the practicalities of writing a good case for support, as well as the creative process. In it, he outlines how to go about drafting a good case for support – including who you should speak with before you start; different types of cases (shopping, internal and external), as well as providing examples from different non-profits.

4 Actions for a Strong Fundraising Case for Support:

1. Interview the Right People – don’t interview too few or too many but decide on who you need to speak to in order to get a clear idea of WHY this project is needed.  Think ‘if I could only speak to one person, who would it be’ to help narrow your list.

2. Ask the Right Questions – if you want to get a clear picture of why a programme or project is important you need to delve deep and keep asking WHY?

3. Write with Emotion – it’s difficult but what are the emotional issues involved with your campaign?  Yes, you think but we need funding to replace the old electrics, that’s hardly emotional?  But think about why you need it rewired – it’s dangerous.  Which means? We can’t use it for much longer.  Which means?  We’ll have to close the unit.  Which means?  The old people’s group won’t be able to use it for IT classes on a Tuesday anymore, which is their lifeline to getting out of the house and gives them the chance to meet young people who run the classes for them.  OK then.

4. Be Aspirational – Don’t write about what you do, write about what you aspire to achieve through this campaign.  A good case for support should be aspirational and inspirational giving the donor the chance to imagine what would be possible with their gift.

 For more ideas and inspiration, you can get Tom Ahern’s book by clicking on the image below:







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