Clarity Results in Better Fundraising


By Jeremy Reis

Clarity is the enemy of confusion. Bringing a clear message in your appeal will help the reader understand exactly what you’re asking for and why they should give. You may have heard the phrase, “if you confuse, you lose.” If the reader gets confused or mixed up in your messaging, the default option is to throw away your appeal or delete your email. If your message isn’t clear, the reader will choose to opt out of reading the rest and donating.

Read this slightly altered paragraph from a nonprofit organization’s landing page:

If you’re looking for the best place to invest in Guatemala’s future, Latin America Nonprofit Organization is the best fit. From our core interventions to our capacity building projects, we empower project participants to gain knowledge and become self-reliant. We partner with government agricultural extension officers to offer the most efficient and effective knowledge transfer programs.

This paragraph doesn’t only lack clarity, but it doesn’t even explain what the organization does in any meaningful way. Here’s the structure:

We’re the best place to invest your donation -> we focus on core poverty issues -> we help farmers become self-reliant -> by partnering with the government

Few potential donors will understand this paragraph and even fewer will be motivated to give. If the organization wanted to explain how they work in simpler language, it might be something like this:

Your donation goes further with Latin America Nonprofit Organization. You will help Guatemalan farmers learn how to become self-sufficient: growing enough food to feed their families and even have some left over to sell at the market to earn income. You will provide the knowledge farmers need to be successful!

Clarity is important for fundraising because it allows donors to understand exactly how their donation will be used. If your message is clear, donors are more likely to give. Conversely, if your message is confusing or convoluted, donors are less likely to give. This is because they don’t want to risk their money being misspent on something they don’t fully understand.

Another reason why clarity matters is that it allows you to focus your fundraising efforts. By being clear about your goals, you can target potential donors who are most likely to be interested in supporting your cause. This ensures that you’re not wasting time and resources chasing after donations from people who are unlikely to give.

Keep Your Messaging Simple

When you’re trying to explain what your organization does, resist the urge to use fancy jargon or long-winded explanations. Be direct and to the point. Use language that anyone can understand, and don’t be afraid to use analogies or metaphors to explain complex concepts. The goal is to make it easy for people to understand what you do and why it matters.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

Your organization probably does a lot of great work, but that doesn’t mean you need to try and communicate everything all at once. When you’re crafting your fundraising message, focus on one specific issue or need that you’re trying to address. Donors will be more likely to remember (and support) a focused message than a laundry list of everything that you do.

Know Your Audience

Who are you trying to reach with your fundraising message? What do they care about? What motivates them? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you craft a message that resonates with your audience and helps them see how their donation will make a difference.

Be Passionate

Donors want to know that you believe in what you’re doing. When you’re developing your fundraising materials, make sure your passion for the cause comes through loud and clear. When people can see how much you care, they’ll be more likely to want to get involved too.

When you clarify your messaging, donors understand the impact they make on the lives of the beneficiaries. Clarity is essential for effective fundraising. Keep your messaging simple and focused, know your audience, and let your passion for the cause shine through. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to developing a message that resonates with potential donors and inspires them to support your organization’s work.


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