Improve Your Nonprofit's Fundraising Campaigns with Donor Messaging


Donor messaging is such a vague space people oftentimes don’t know what to do or where to start.

Sometimes it’s because nonprofits want to cut corners, get creative, and forget about their branding. But the truth is, your agency’s branding should guide what kind of messaging you need to show donors, what that messaging looks like, and how you'll do it.

Because branding is more than just a logo - it’s a visual representation of how you want someone to feel when they see your agency.

If you’re looking at something and not getting any feeling out of it, then your agency’s brand is not working for you.

Why does branding matter?

9 times out of 10, before you think about anything else, you need to think about your agency’s branding. Branding helps:

  • Set you apart

  • Makes your agency become recognizable

  • Provides a way to retain customers

  • Makes your agency “legit”

A cohesive branding strategy represents your donor’s experience with your agency.

Stop being “creative” with your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy.

The whole goal of branding is so it’s recognizable and representative. As soon as you add all this creativity - different fonts, different colors, different graphics - you’re losing that recognizability.

So you should let your agency’s branding guide every fundraising campaign you do.

That’s your goal with branding - no matter where you show up, it’s consistent and you’re trying to evoke the same feeling.

What is Branding?

Branding is so much more than just a logo! Branding is also:

  • Tagline

  • Mission/Vision

  • Tone/Voice

  • Buzz words

  • 3-5 Colors

  • Up to 3 fonts

  • Stock photos of your agency

  • Consistency

Altogether, these things show your brand. Your brand is about communicating the feeling or experience people will get from your agency. So anyone producing any type of marketing for your agency should use agency fonts, colors, and messaging.

Branding and messaging are all about cohesiveness. It’s okay to take words from your mission and repeat them over and over again in your branding. This helps with branding consistency and getting people to understand what you’re all about.

Attraction Marketing & Donor Messaging

When people think about fundraising, they typically think about solicitation for funds, crowdfunding, special events. Attraction marketing is very different to how people traditionally think about fundraising.

Soliciting for funds, crowdfunding and special events are all ways to fundraise now. But attraction marketing is a long-term strategy that goes beyond asking for money in that moment. Instead of asking for donations, you use messaging to attract potential donors and build a relationship with them.

Instead of your fundraising marketing plan being posts saying, “You have a week left to get your tickets! Did you get your ticket yet?”, use attraction marketing to ATTRACT potentials donors. This can include:

  • Video of a local celebrity being involved with the fundraiser

  • Highlighting something happening

  • Highlighting one of the clients who benefits from the services that fundraiser is supporting

And then make the ask.

You can say “we provide meaningful services” but you can actually show how meaningful the services are, or that the event will be fun… and reach your potential donors in a more impactful way by simply sharing a specific story, moment or picture.

Get everyone involved with donor messaging

Your nonprofit is not just you! One thing you can do to help your Board and your agency’s staff is to encourage everyone to do donor messaging.

People make excuses. “I can’t do that. I don’t know what to talk about.” A common reaction I see from Board members is a request for a 30-second blurb to tell people.

But each person has their own WHY. Their own reason for working with an organization. Why they think a donor should support your agency.

And these stories are a great way to show how meaningful your nonprofit’s impact is. Equipping your agency staff to think about their own why is so much more impactful than a prepared “This agency has been involved in the community since…zzzzzz”.

A story will capture the attention of your potential donors.

Ask your Board members and agency staff why they decided to become involved or why they started working at your agency.

It’s not about knowing all the stats. Empower everyone to be ambassadors for your agency.