Personalizing Your Nonprofit’s Fundraising Message

If you’re anything like the majority of nonprofits out there, you’re likely trying to find new, creative, and fruitful ways to raise money. It’s no mystery that fundraising is a pretty important part of an organization’s ability to do good in their community.

It’s also well known that fundraising is tough.

Combating Inertia

It’s not that people dislike your cause or have a distaste for your organization.  You’re merely battling one of the most formidable forces on the planet: inertia.

Inertia is “the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion” (as eloquently defined by Wikipedia).  People are simply living their lives. Your organization may come into and out of their routine intermittently, piquing their interest for a moment before being lost in a sea of tasks, deadlines and commitments.

These people don’t dislike you. They simply don’t think about you.

It’s your job to change that.

One way to combat inertia is to find a way to make your fundraising campaign (and your organization) personally relevant to your potential donors’ lives. Some of the most effective campaigns are those we can’t stop thinking about. They stick with us. They seem relevant, and as a result, they begin to counteract the inertia of our daily lives.

A Fundraising Example from St. Louis Public Radio

One of my favorite recent examples of a personalized fundraising campaign came during the spring pledge drive for St. Louis Public Radio (our local NPR affiliate). If you’ve listened to NPR for any length of time, you’ve likely hit a pledge drive or two.

Now I knew it was time for me to renew my membership. And I fully intended to. But as the pledge drive wore on, I still hadn’t “found the time” (because three minutes is so tough to come by). In the height of my own inertia keeping me from donating, I heard an appeal that made me smile and led me to find that time to renew.

The voices on the radio started talking about “driveway moments.” This simple phrase intrigued me. They went on to describe driveway moments as those times you’re listening to NPR in your car, and upon arriving wherever you’re going, you don’t turn the radio off. You sit, hooked to a story, waiting to hear how it all turns out.

I can’t count how many times that’s happened to me. I do it all the time. And here is St. Louis Public Radio calling me out. It made me smile. It made me think about how often I do the very thing they’re mentioning. It made me walk inside and pledge. And ultimately it led me to write this blog post.

Personalize your nonprofit’s fundraising message. You don’t have to have access to broadcast media to make it happen.  You can do it through your website. Or social media. Or your newsletter. However, you reach out to your community, make it personal. Make it relevant to their lives.

Personalization may just be that powerful combatant you need in your quest to overcome inertia.

Have you ever been moved by a nonprofit that tailored their message to your life? Or have you found yourself thinking about a nonprofit’s message during your daily routine? Tell me about it in the comments.

Today’s post originally appeared on Wired Impact.


David Hartstein
Wired Impact
David Hartstein is a partner at Wired Impact, a web design company that builds websites for nonprofits. He spends most of his time helping nonprofits tell their story in a more compelling way and using data to measure the benefits they can glean from their website. You can catch up with him on Twitter at @davharts.