Awareness Fundraising Could Be Risky

in Copywriting - Nonprofit,Marketing for Nonprofits

Surrender success when asking to raise awareness

Surrender success when you "ask" for money to raise awareness

Asking donors to support your cause so you can “raise awareness” might prove risky to your nonprofit.

How so?

A study by the University of Michigan found: “If a charity focused on ‘raising awareness,’ and the charity was well known to the potential donor, then donations were lower than if they highlighted other goals.”


In other words, if someone is quite familiar with your nonprofit … and you openly state that one of your primary goals is to raise awareness … you won’t raise as much money because they think spending money to raise awareness is a waste of money.

The recommendation is to NOT include raising awareness in your mission statement, or in your fundraising appeals.

I found this in a Neuromarketing post.

Any way you slice it . . . I’ve never been fond of leading with a plea, “Help us raise awareness – fund our cause.”

How inspiring is that?

Plus it’s a difficult goal to measure. And remember, donors want to see tangible results on how their money is making a difference. If you insist upon asking for donations to raise awareness, also think about how you’ll demonstrate progress toward this nebulous goal.

No, there are far better ways to raise funds in my opinion.

Acquire more donors and retain more donors by . . .

sharing a moving story

giving donors a reason to give that they can sink their teeth into and wrap their arms around

writing so the donor can relate to the problem or issue personally – even if you’re writing about abject poverty in a developing nation

making it real to the donor

keeping it simple and avoid large statistics; talk about a single child, mother, father, or one family

putting the reader in the spotlight and making them the hero of all the work you do

Guess what? When you do all that skillfully and artfully, you’ll not only raise far more money, but you’ll also raise awareness.

Related posts:

Top 10 reasons why a fundraising campaign flops

Are you SURE we know “Who your nonprofit is and what do you do?” Giving us enough info to figure it out?

How “aspiration” benefits your nonprofit


Photo credit: Scraggy & Fluffy via

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