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Resources – Newsletter Archive

March, 2007

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." March's newsletter
(which you can read in 3-5 minutes . . . tops) focuses on your nonprofit website and a few basic tips to ensure it's centered on your donor. And I've also got a couple ideas to target your email fundraising.

♣   Happy St. Patrick's Day!   ♣

     With regard to my newsletter in general - on the second Tuesday of each month I share tips, news items, and resources all tailored for the nonprofit world and folks directly responsible for raising funds. My goal is to make your job a little easier and to help you increase your donor contributions.

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     What's your biggest challenge? What would you like to see in my newsletter? How can I help you?

     Send me a short note with one or two of your biggest challenges. I'll share suggestions on making them less of a challenge in a future issue. Just send an email to and I'll take it from there.

“Sell” With Your Nonprofit Website - Part 1 [485 words]

     With every communication, including your website, you're "selling" your mission whether you realize it or not. Whether you like it or not.

     As a nonprofit you're in a very competitive industry. This humble copywriter - along with any savvy marketer - recommends you recognize and accept this basic fact. And then capitalize on it. Today I focus on websites as part of your selling arsenal.

     The comments I share are certainly from the perspective of a copywriter. But they're also from the viewpoint of an outsider to your organization . . . a potential donor coming to your site for a visit to learn about you before I decide whether to donate.

     First recommendation: On your home page have a very simple paragraph on how you help people. Eliminate the corporate lingo. Just have three to five sentences a sixth-grader could easily understand on what you do and why it's important.

     I literally mean a sixth-grader! No exceptions. And sorry if this offends you, but for many nonprofit organizations this eliminates your mission statement. Bury that somewhere else.

     I have an example to help illustrate my point. And yes; I have permission to use them as an example:

     I'm pleased the home/landing page doesn't have an ambiguous mission statement written by committee. (Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine?) However, I couldn't find a straight-forward summary of who they are and what they do anywhere. They touch on this on the Membership/Volunteer page. But nothing to directly answer these questions:

  • Why do you exist?
  • How do you help people?
  • How do you make our world a better place to live?
  • Why should I support you?

     Your visitors and potential donors have a very strong need: They must have these questions answered before they take any action favorable to you.

     Second recommendation: I believe every page of your website should include a way to donate. Or some other call to action you want to highlight.

     On the Sotterley website the only opportunity I found was on the Membership/Volunteer page. And then I had to first download the membership application form. This may be a business decision they've made.

     But I believe they're missing opportunities by burying the opportunity to support them so deeply in the website; and also by not giving more than one way to support them. Don't treat everyone the same. People are more likely to respond when they can find a choice they're comfortable with.

     And be creative! PLEASE don't limit yourself to "click here to donate."

     Take another critical look at your website. Are you making it very easy for your visitors to understand what you do, why you do it, and how they can help you? Easy for them to donate?

     Remember. You're "selling" your mission and few people will buy until these basic questions are answered to their satisfaction.

     Next issue I'll include tips on driving more traffic to your website.

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Just for fun - a quote for you

"If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble." (Bob Hope)

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COMING SOON to a website near you!

     Just letting you know about a new development on my website: the Resources page.

     Here you'll find upcoming events of interest from the nonprofit and fundraising industry; a list of recommended vendors; and articles I've written along with some from guest industry experts. All of these tools and resources are intended to make your life a little easier.

     Check it out - it's "live."

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Hot Tip of the Month - Holiday Fundraising Ideas for Spring
[383 words]

     Take advantage of two high-profile holidays to boost your fundraising efforts:

Mother's Day - May 13 Father's Day - June 17

     Use those email addresses to send a marvelous direct response email letter. Offer to make your donor's life easier and rewarding at the same time. An example is to offer the chance to give their Mom, Grandmother, or daughter a very unique gift: A donation in Mom's name to her favorite charity.

     Mom receives an incredibly meaningful gift - one she knows received a lot of thought. Your donor feels great about the gift and also about helping your cause. And you've got the donation. A true win-win-win!

     Regardless of your mission, you can create a way to capitalize on both Mother's Day and Father's Day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Habitat for Humanity or a similar mission - offer a special gift card or coupon from a local hardware or lumber store to pay for supplies on a future project. Maybe the store will even partially match the donations.
  • Museum - a donation of $AB gets Mom (or Dad, or both) a pass and the rest of the family at half price. Give Mom a flower when she comes.
  • Symphony - donate $150 and get two tickets to a special concert where Moms and Dads are recognized. Plus they get a special night out together.
  • Historical site - similar to the museum. Or cater a luncheon. Mom gets a meal out and then the whole family enjoys a tour of your site. A package deal. Or reach out to a larger region and offer a lodging package with a nearby hotel or B&B - a weekend getaway.
  • Education/arts/science/music programs for kids - offer a chance to give a scholarship in Mom or Dad's name for $250, $500, a $1000 or more.

     In all cases you can put up a special page on your website (easy to do). A page to honor Mothers and Fathers and their naturally giving nature. You can recognize your donors as well as the Moms and Dads they've honored with their donation. You could also devote an issue of your regular newsletter to give special thanks and recognition.

     Whatever you do, your offer must always cover all your costs with an appreciable "profit" over and above your costs. Don't be afraid to ask for larger amounts. Oh, and send a press release to area media about your great offer!


Feel free to forward my newsletter to a colleague. Plus, here's how they can sign-up to receive it directly:

     1. Just click on this link, In the email message to me, please include the first name and email address of your colleague. I'll take care of signing them up.

Or ...

     2. You can sign them up directly on my website by following this link:

"Karen's Fundraising Tips"

Thanks for joining me and until next time . . . sell your nonprofit mission on your website and in those spring holiday emails for more successful fundraising.

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

P.S.  Have a project coming up soon? Id love to explore the possibilities with you. Call or send me an email today. I look forward to helping your mission prosper!


Return to Karen Zapp’s Newsletter Archive page


Call anytime and we’ll chat about your needs: 800-794-1609
I look forward to helping you prosper.

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