While successful nonprofits attract consistent donors who reliably and repeatedly give without prompting, it is incredibly important to remain active in seeking out new donors and inspiring repeated gifts from would-be one-time donors.
Reaching out to current or potential constituents to ask for support can be daunting, but a sincere, well-crafted, and timely call for donations can be an effective touchstone in forming those relationships. Read on to learn more about types of nonprofit donations and how to ask for donations in appropriate and effective ways.
Why is it Important to Call for Nonprofit Donations?
In a perfect world, everyone with an inclination to give would dedicate hours of research seeking out missions that align with their convictions, and then become regular supporters who routinely give of their time and money to ensure the continued work of that mission.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Many potential donors want to give, but feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of worthy causes and needs in their communities and abroad and are unsure of where or how to donate.
That’s why the onus is on the organizations to take the first step in connecting potential constituents to their cause. Though the methods of calling for donations can vary greatly (more on that in the next section), the main purpose of a call for donations is to reach out and begin, or rekindle, that donor/nonprofit relationship in a productive way.
Calls for donations are so much more than just the ask. Besides spreading the word about your nonprofit’s mission and therefore possibly recruiting new donors and volunteers, they also serve as effective touchstones with already established donors, reminding them of the reason they felt moved to give in the first place.
Conversely, failure to remain proactive in calls for donations can lead to constituent stagnation, putting the future stability of ongoing programs (and the organization itself) at risk. A nonprofit that fails to grow is unlikely to reach its full potential, and a nonprofit that fails to build and maintain support is unlikely to remain solvent.
Calls for donations are a vital part of the incoming revenue for nonprofits. Sometimes, a gentle reminder of the mission is enough to reactivate a lapsed donor.
Ways to Call for Nonprofit Donations
The possible methods for ask campaigns are defined only by the limitations of communication itself. If it reaches people, it can be an avenue for a call for donations.
Face-to-face interaction, phone calls, emails, letters, texts, print ads, and social media can all be used as methods to call for nonprofit donations.
When deciding which method to use, it is important to consider the different types of nonprofit donations and donors, and determine which communication would be most appropriate for your target audience.
A face-to-face meeting would be most appropriate when reaching out to a previous major donor, or one that has given substantial large gifts (~5k+) in the past. In fact, many large-scale organizations retain specialized outreach professionals that focus solely on maintaining close relationships with major donors.
While that simply isn’t possible for smaller organizations with less budget for overhead, it’s important to make major donor asks as personable as possible. Simply reaching out to a major donor via phone would be far more appropriate than a mass mailing. Use the opportunity to keep them up to date on the ways their funds are making a difference and make a point to ask for their input when appropriate.
Letters and emails are perfect for reaching out to established donors, as it is imperative to acknowledge their previous contributions when asking for additional support. (NOTE: Acknowledgements should be a regular part of processing any contribution. Having an acknowledgment system in place ensures donor recognition and helps maintain a tie to those constituents.)
Letters and emails are also excellent ways to reach out to likely potential donors as they are great for delivering large amounts of information in a single communication.
Prospective donors are those who, while they have not given previously, have been flagged as showing interest in your cause or mission. This could be anyone who has requested information via social media or website form, an individual who has approached volunteers/staff at an event, or someone who has a proven interest in your mission.
These potential donors may be reached via any form of communication, but a letter or email that can be personalized to reflect why they are being contacted is more likely to produce a constituent relationship.
Cold calls for donations are the least personal method of calling for donations. Think of these campaigns as looking for tiny seashells by sifting buckets of sand. Most recipients will not respond and will simply pass through like the sand—that’s okay!
The point of cold calls for donations is to find potential new constituents in the sieve once the sand has passed through. After all, the first gift is the most important, as those that give once are much more likely to give in the future. Cold calls via social media are an effective way to reach a huge number of potential donors with relatively little cost.
If you're looking to start building your own donation sponsorship setter, get started quickly by using our Donation Sponsorship Letter Templates. The template is made in Canva, an an easy-to-use creative design tool. You can jump right in, change colors, add your logo, and adjust the copy so it fits your brand.Why start from scratch when you can use one of our templates?
Templates to Use When Calling for Nonprofit Donations Through Letters and Emails
Feel free to use the following example and templates to help craft your own written call for donations. Notice that they all include an acknowledgment of previous gifts, a specific example of how their gifts have or will impact the mission, and finally, the ask itself. Allow your mission to guide your voice.
Call For Donation Letter Template
Call For Donation Email Template
Call For Donation Example Letter
If you want to craft an Effective Nonprofit Donation Request, feel free to access our template that is made in Canva, an an easy-to-use creative design tool. You can jump right in, change colors, add your logo, and adjust the copy so it fits your brand.
Wrapping Up: How to Call for Nonprofit Donations
Asking for donations is something that gets easier and more successful with time and practice. However, building relationships based on appreciation and trust with constituents will make all your calls for donations far more fruitful.
A great way to work up to the ask is to simply reach out to your constituents to show your gratitude, nurture your relationship with them, and remind them of the important work they make possible. Doing so will not only allow you to grow more comfortable communicating with donors, but it will also increase the likelihood of your donors responding positively to future calls for donations.
For more tips and tricks on securing funding for your organization, check out our post on how to increase monthly donors at your nonprofit.