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Questions You Must Answer Before You Ask Donors for Support

If you write content to help raise money and support for your organization, you should think about how your donors want to be approached. Here’s a list for making sure your content is donor, not organization focused:


  • Are you talking at your donors or speaking to them? Does your content begin with “Here’s what we think you need to know about this project” or from a perspective of “What will our donors want and need to know about the project?”

  • Do you involve your donors in past accomplishments? “Last year, through our organization, generous friends like you provided…” or simply, “Last year our organization provided…” Always remember to place the donor at the center of the story.

  • Is your content more process or outcomes dominant? “Look at the great job we did!” vs. “Look at the great things we’ve been accomplishing together!” The “process” (how you get things done) does have a place in setting you apart from others who do similar work, but it’s far too easy to fall into the trap of “we do this” and “this is how we do that.” The truth is donors really don’t care very much about how you do what you do. What they do want to know about is the results or outcomes you’ve achieved because of their support.

  • Regarding your ask, is it “help change the world” or “help us change the world”? Connecting your donors to your organization is a mistake. Instead, connect them to the people their gifts will ultimately benefit. After all, there’s a big emotional difference between feeling like you have the power to change the world, and feeling like you have the power to help somebody else change the world.

  • Who owns the mission/vision? Is it the property of the organization or is it the joint property of the donors and the organization? Language like “You’re part of a special group who share the

vision of …” instead of “You are helping us fulfill our mission of…”


In all of your content remember to provide specific goals and suggested ask amounts based on specific projected costs. Provide a reason why giving now matters, as opposed to giving a month from now. But what’s most important is to help the donor picture exactly how he or she is going to change the world.


Rescigno’s team of professional copywriters and editors can help you craft the kinds of messages that get results. Let us write or edit your next appeal.

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