You might be calling. You might be emailing. You might be schlepping miles by car (or plane) for an in-person meeting. You might just be sending a simple text.
No matter the scenario, the basic ingredient list of a great solicitation stays the same. I like to call it the U.S.E. formula:
Every winning solicitation U.S.E.s these three elements. Here’s how:
In your solicitation, convey a sense of urgency. Simply put, make it clear you need the money now.
Urgency accomplishes a couple of productive things:
- It gets donors to take your ask more seriously
- It lets them feel like they’ve given a more valuable contribution - after all, when something’s urgent, the stakes are clearer. If they give, something measurable will be won. If they don’t, that something could be lost.
- It puts your organization’s needs higher on their (already packed) priorities lists.
Some organization leaders think their donors need a ton of education. They assume people need to understand the ins and outs of their cause and their work.
In reality, though, it’s not the background facts that push donors to give. Donors simply need to be told, in language they can understand, how their donation will make a difference.
Keep it simple, keep it understandable - and you’ll keep it relatable.
Donors don’t make giving decisions with their heads. They make them with their hearts.
As impressive as your facts and figures are, your solicitations need to be focused on an emotional narrative.
Talk to their hearts about a painful problem. Excite them with an inspiring opportunity.
In short - say it with feelings.
Think you could U.S.E. an example?
As you read through this little sample solicitation, keep an eye out for urgency, simplicity and emotion:
“When Sarah came on our program last year, it was the first time she’d experienced an authentic Shabbos. Because of it, she decided to learn more about Judaism. This eventually led to her commitment to marrying Jewish.
Now, she very much wants to join another trip. If we can make this trip happen, she’ll deepen her Jewish commitment even further.
We’ve already raised half of the $100K we need to get the program off the ground. We need to raise $50k by the end of this week if we want it to really happen.
With your help, Sarah can become a mother to generations of connected Jews.
Would you give her the opportunity to live a more inspired Jewish life by sponsoring the trip she wants to join with a donation of $25K?”
What about you?
Take five minutes now to plan out a similar solicitation.
- Think of a specific donor
- Come up with a simple request, a reason it’s urgent, and a story that will speak to this particular donor’s heart
- Throw it together on paper and, viola - you’ve got a winning solicitation.
Have a great fundraising week,