Use the Selling Your Organization Template to communicate to funders that you make a difference.
Before a donor will want to make a long-term commitment to supporting your organization, they must believe in not only what you’ve done to address the problem in the past, but also on your plans for the future. This involves communicating your vision to your target audiences and describing how you plan to improve upon currently offered services. In addition, use this opportunity to explain how your plans will help address the problem in the future.
Use the Sharing Your Vision Template to communicate to donors your plans for the future.
If you’ve accomplished the previous three steps, your prospective donor should care about the problem and believe that supporting your organization is a worthy cause. At this point, he or she should be asking, “How can I help?” Obviously, there are numerous costs involved with running an organization and, as a nonprofit, you likely depend upon a combination of donations and grants for your very survival. Donors are more likely to give if they understand these costs and how their gifts might be used. How could a donation of X amount of dollars help fulfill your organization’s vision? Think about all of the costs involved with running your organization. Since your case for support is similar to an advertisement, you should focus on expenses that are most likely to be attractive to your audience, namely the expenses associated with running programs or offering services to clients.
Use the Organizational Costs Template to group organizational expenses by donor gift amount.
Now that you’ve made your case, it’s time to ask for support. Be assertive! Let your prospective donors know how important their support is to you and those you serve and that by supporting the organization, they are making a difference in the community. Also let them know what perks you might have to offer, such as newsletters, recognition, and invitations to special events.
Your case for support must engage your audience. Passive voice and variations of the verb “to be” are not effective means of conveying the dynamic nature of your organization. Instead, use an active voice. For instance, rather than saying “the Neighborhood Homes Project was founded in 1958 by John and Jane Doe,” say “John Doe founded the Neighborhood Homes Project in 1958.”
It is essential to capture the points that are central to communicating your message by being thorough and concise without losing your audience. Be selective in choosing what points to include and trim any unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. Ensure that the appearance of your materials is attractive to the audience. Use a readable font and don’t neglect color scheme or spacing.
For a helpful “on the go” resource about how to present your case, download the form, Tips for Presenting.