Your Favorite Fundraising Asks or Offers in Your Appeals?

Ask The QuestionI’m putting together a list of different kinds of fundraising asks or offers, as a prompt to get you thinking about new ways to talk to your donors about supporting your work. It’s part of a new training I’m putting together (more on that later).

Here’s my list so far. I’ve given each category a name, followed by a very brief description of the overall message to the donor.

What else would you add?

The Match

Give now and your gift will be doubled.


Your gift will help this one child/dog/tree, etc.

The Menu

Your $25 gift pays for this; your $50 gift pays for that.

Fighting Evil

Your gift means the good guys can continue to fight the bad guys.

The Single Story

Help this one (and you help others like him/her).

The Emergency

It’s happening right this minute, and we need your support right now.

Let’s Get Ready

Your gift ensures we can keep doing this work next month, next year.

The Sustainer

Your monthly gift means you’ll be there, day in and day out.

Buy It

Help us pay for this particular thing with a set price tag.


What other categories or types of asks or offers have worked in your fundraising?

Please share your ideas and examples in the comments.




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  • Rob Aldrich

    Hi Kivi, The Freshwater Land Trust in Alabama has a clever idea to buy another car for their land monitoring work: Go to the site and click on “Help J.J. Retire.” I usually don’t ‘click around’ and didn’t even know who J.J. was, but clicked on it anyway b/c I was intrigued about howwhy someone would need help retiring. This is the work of a fun, creative – and smart – organization.

  • Ruth Jones

    The engagement device! (At least every now and then.) Not something cheesy and meaningless, but one that symbolizes something important to your donor. At House of Hope, we’re a specialized Alzheimer’s facility. We gave people the opportunity to write the name of a loved one (in memory or in honor) on a pure white paper dove (the dove represents peace and hope but is also our logo) and send back to us. We included a donation envelope. We displayed the doves with plastic wire (so you couldn’t see it) from the ceiling all through the facility. We actually had them “flying in” through a window. People sent them back decorated with beautiful inscriptions. We held a dedication of the doves ceremony where each person honored was listed in the program along with special stories. We left them up for a month and people came to visit. Gifts accompanying dove dedications totaled $25,000.

    • Awesome example Ruth! I am actually creating a second list of engagement asks, but I definitely need to add that to this list!

  • Matt Fender

    I love this menu of fundraising appeal concepts! You nailed the most common ones. A few more specific ideas I consider:
    – Campaign Renewal: Like a reinstatement or renewal email, but campaign specific. You reference specific previous support for a campaign, provide an update about what that support made possible, and invite the donor to step up again this year.

    – Don’t Stop Now: You started your fundraising campaign with an advocacy action, pledge, or letter-writing campaign. Now you build on the momentum of that recent action to make the case for the next step.

    – Spread the Word: A donor gives early in a multiple message fundraising campaign. You exclude them from subsequent appeals until the very end, then you send them a special version with a lift note that says “You already gave to the campaign and we’d love your help to forward the below message to friends and family.” These emails can produce repeat gifts while potentially recruiting new donors.

    – Ego Stroke / Upgrade: Do you have a name for middle donor programs? If so, schedule occasional emails inviting prospective members with larger than average recent gifts. Explain the group, its benefits, and plant the seed for an upgrade.

  • Thanks for sharing Rob!

  • Larissa Peters

    Great list! Here are a couple more:
    The Incentive: Give $X and you’ll get a tote/blanket/stuffed animal, etc
    The Help-Us-Reach-Our-Goal (better name needed!): we need to raise $10,000 by Oct1. Your gift gets us that much closer

  • Gay McMullen

    Perhaps you would include a category for Legacy/Planned Giving asks?

  • O.K. Kivi, I will throw my hat in the ring!

    The Meditator: Contribute to your own inner peace by helping others.
    The Shark Tank: Save others from dangerous circumstances.
    The Boomerang: In giving we receive.
    The Double Play: Help us and you help the other charities we collaborate with too.
    The Taxman Cometh: Don’t forget your contribution is tax deductible!

  • Ruthellen Rubin

    Legacy/Planned Giving: If after you die you come back as a whale, you’ll be glad you left a bequest to Greenpeace.

    • Rob Aldrich

      Love it!

  • The EASY way to Buy It: An Amazon Wish List
    (We just completely furnished a new children’s home using this – super easy for donors and recipients alike! AND…a double-plus if your non-profit is chosen as the buyer’s AmazonSmile donor choice.)

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