8 Print Ideas for Making the Big Ask

Master the Art of the Big Ask in Your Next Solicitation Campaign – Blog Series Part 4

Whether you’re assembling a robust capital campaign solicitation kit, or you need a tidier donor package, the right components can help you secure the funds and support your organization’s needs. The following are a few of the top print materials to consider when making your big ask:

  1. Proposal letter
  2. Impact report
  3. Brochure
  4. Annual report
  5. Newsletter
  6. Pledge card or gift envelope
  7. Infographics or gift range charts
  8. Custom promotional item with your branded identity

While it’s not necessary – or wise! – to include all these materials in your kit, it’s rare to use them alone. Nonprofit organizations of all sizes often bundle at least two items together, such as a personalized letter and pledge card. The ideal combination of print materials depends on the nature of your big ask.

To master the art of the big ask, begin with understanding your donors’ drivers and design a compelling giving solicitation strategy to move the needle. How can we help lighten your load? We are a best-in-class commercial printer specializing in quality, accurate, and efficient nonprofit communications, from personalized, data-driven digital and offset production to segmented mailing and distribution. For more than 20 years, we’ve leveraged our state-of-the-art equipment and advanced expertise to execute print solicitation campaigns with excellence. Partner with our award-winning and nationally recognized professional printing experts to make your next big ask one for the ages.

For more on Jim Rosenthal or to get a custom quote, visit our website.

You can read the full blog series Master the Art of the Big Ask in Your Next Solicitation Campaign by clicking below:

  1. The Drivers of Giving
  2. The Power of the Big Ask
  3. The Art of Crafting the Big Ask
  4. 8 Print Ideas for Making the Big Ask

The Art of Crafting the Big Ask

Master the Art of the Big Ask in Your Next Solicitation Campaign: Blog Series Part 3

We know that asking for support increases the likelihood of receiving it. Simple enough. We also know that how you ask can elevate your solicitation strategy, stacking the odds in your favor. Now, it’s time to start crafting. While there are many viable how-to tips for nonprofits on making the big ask, the following are a few useful hints from Jim and other industry experts.

Know your audience

Understanding your target donor’s demographics and psychographics is a surefire way to connect their passions and desires to your organization, increasing the likelihood that they’ll respond to your ask. Consider such questions as, Who is our audience? What stage of life are they in? What do they care about? What are their fears and risks? Jim suggests using the answers to these questions to develop solicitation campaign materials that resonate with your targets. From the graphics to the message itself, help the recipient feel represented and understood. For instance, if you’re targeting seniors, use imagery and messaging likely to resonate with that particular audience.

Be personal

Personalization is a long-trusted direct marketing strategy you can leverage in fundraising and development campaigns. The idea is to recognize that each donor, or potential donor, is unique. Personalizing the big ask – and any interactions with your supporters – provide a tailored donor experience that can deepen your connection and value, help them feel appreciated, and cultivate continued support.

Ever-evolving technologies in the commercial printing industry open the door for personalizing the big ask in your print communications. According to Jim, data-driven letter solicitations are among the most useful ways nonprofit organizations personalize their big ask campaigns. These pieces use variable data printing (VDP) technology that prints unique text, images, and graphics on each sheet without interrupting the production process.

Inspire action

Besides personalizing your communications, compelling language also plays a role in crafting an ask that helps inspire donations and support. You don’t have to be a copywriting wizard to nail this tip, but you do need to choose your words carefully for it to work. Consider incorporating these expert-recommended “magic” words to increase donations, or try these donation letter templates to help you get started. The goal is for your messaging to sound natural, using simple and effective word choices to urge your target audience to join your mission.

Do you need help crafting compelling messaging for your big ask? Contact us to tap into our team of charitable giving copywriters and print marketing experts.

Tell a story

Storytelling is another effective strategy for crafting the big ask. While stories captivate our imagination and attention, they also help us understand the world and those around us a little better. Many nonprofit organizations find that storytelling’s emotional appeal helps with fundraising, building awareness and trust, and mobilizing volunteers. Explore this infographic for step-by-step instructions for telling a real-life story that can help you nail the big ask.

Use impact communication

Before giving to your organization, smart donors want to feel comfortable that their contribution will be going to a worthy cause, where it can make an impact. Start your big ask by assuring donors that your organization is well managed and committed to good works. Next, explain how the gift or action you’re requesting will make a difference. Even if donors feel motivated to give, most still want to feel confident that their contribution will be used wisely. An impact report is an effective communication tool to accomplish just that. Beyond drafting compelling language, experts recommend using visuals in an impact report to strengthen its effect, such as charts, photos, and illustrations.

Do impact reports work? In our experience, they do. Jim recalls a well-endowed charity customer sharing how effective their impact report is for development because it consistently generates a terrific positive response. However, impact reports are just one of the building blocks of an effective print solicitation campaign. In the next section, we’ll outline several more to consider in your fundraising and development strategy.

As we’ve covered in this section, mastering the art of the big ask is central to achieving your goals. You can choose to make a humdrum ask – or you can up your game with a well-crafted ask poised for success.

In the next blog post in the series, we’ll give you 8 print ideas for the big ask. Check back, or subscribe to be notified of the next article in the Master the Art of the Big Ask series

The full series includes:

  1. The Drivers of Giving
  2. The Power of the Big Ask
  3. The Art of Crafting the Big Ask
  4. 8 Print Ideas for Making the Big Ask Successful

The Power of the Big Ask

Master the Art of the Big Ask in Your Next Solicitation Campaign: Blog Series Part 2

If merely asking for support was all nonprofits had to do to survive, nearly every organization would effortlessly meet its financial goals, satisfy its stakeholders, and leave an indelible imprint on the world. Unfortunately, such a soaring success isn’t the reality for many organizations. Many struggle to stay afloat. In an article on why nonprofits fail by the National Association of Nonprofit Organizations & Executives (NANOE), experts point to data from the National Center on Charitable Statistics, which estimates that 30% of nonprofits do not survive after ten years, no matter how worthy the cause or mission.

While many factors can influence a nonprofit’s success, data points like this suggest that organizations must do all they can to survive, including mastering the art of the big ask. After all, long-term sustainability relies on a sound revenue development strategy, especially in today’s highly competitive climate. Now, the simple act of asking for support isn’t enough – it’s about how you ask that matters the most.

This nuanced approach infuses infinitely more power – and pressure – into the big ask, but it’s essential to master so that your organization can successfully:

  • Raise funds
  • Nurture donor relationships
  • Build other forms of support, such as a volunteer base

Our next blog post in this series, we’ll take a deep dive into strategies for how to make the big ask. Check back, or subscribe to be notified of the next blog post in the Master the Art of the Big Ask series.

The full series includes:

  1. The Drivers of Giving
  2. The Power of the Big Ask
  3. The Art of Crafting the Big Ask
  4. 8 Print Ideas for Making the Big Ask Successful

Master the Art of the Big Ask in Your Next Solicitation Campaign: Blog Series Part 1

Fundraising and development are the beating heart of the nonprofit sector. Whether organizations are advancing charitable, higher education, arts, medical, or religious missions, they simply cannot survive without donors, enrollees, members, and other contributions. So, what’s the secret to securing this vital support? As you’ll discover in this blog series, much of the answer to this million-dollar question lies in the big ask.

To shed light on mastering the elusive art of the big ask, our communications team caught up with our president and 30-year print industry veteran, Jim Rosenthal. Serving a leadership role with capital campaign involvement at two large nonprofit organizations and specializing in direct mail marketing technologies, Jim is uniquely qualified to lend valuable insider perspective on the facets of an effective solicitation strategy.

In this blog series, we’ll summarize Jim’s practical advice for nonprofits and sprinkle in insights from other respected sources, starting with the foundation of it all: the factors that drive giving.

The Drivers of Giving

Before we consider the most effective strategies for making the big ask, it’s critical to understand “the why” behind giving. In other words, why do people give? For this answer, we consulted the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), which suggested that people give because:

  • Giving is gratifying
  • Giving makes people feel good
  • Giving reinforces personal values
  • Giving helps people make a difference
  • Giving introduces future generations to the virtue of generosity
  • Giving encourages the donor’s friends and families to give as well

Besides these qualitative factors, we also turned to scientific literature in search of more quantifiable justifiers for giving. According to a literature review of empirical philanthropy studies by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the central driver of giving is almost too obvious to mention. Drawing on 500 papers on the key factors that drive giving, the ARNOVA review revealed that an overwhelming majority of people gave because someone merely asked them to. The study found that very “why” to be true in over 85% of donations studied.

Could it really be that simple – ask, and you shall receive? As Jim astutely notes, the answer to this question is yes – and no. Check back, or subscribe to be notified of the next article in the Master the Art of the Big Ask series.

The full series includes:

  1. The Drivers of Giving
  2. The Power of the Big Ask
  3. The Art of Crafting the Big Ask
  4. 8 Print Ideas for Making the Big Ask Successful

How to Design and Print a Brochure Effectively

Your company’s brochures have a tough job.

They give you a chance to make a strong first impression on potential customers. They need to tell your company’s story in a relatively small amount of space. And they need to stand out in a sea of other brochures from similar businesses.

In this blog post we’re going to look at the best and most effective ways to design and print a brochure.

Continue reading How to Design and Print a Brochure Effectively

The Benefits of Sending EDDM Postcards

Run by the U.S. Postal Service, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is a program that can market your company to every address in a neighborhood without the use of a mailing list.

And because this service is offered at a reduced postal rate, businesses can use their mailing campaigns to reach their target audience in a given area without exhausting their budget.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the benefits of using EDDM postcards.

Continue reading The Benefits of Sending EDDM Postcards

How to Design a Trade Show Banner: Printing Tips

Tradeshow Illustration

Trade shows present an excellent opportunity for your company to tell its story. Research shows that trade show visitors will spend an average of eight hours exploring exhibits. Nearly all of those visitors are armed with the authority to make purchasing decisions.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that you’ll be just one of many businesses at the trade show, all vying for purchasers’ attention.

One way to capture that attention is through an attractive trade show banner. In this blog post, we’ll offer some tradeshow banner printing tips that will help draw customers to your booth.

Continue reading How to Design a Trade Show Banner: Printing Tips

How to Create a Catalog or Even a Magalog for Your Company

Stack of catalogs

In our last blog post, we talked about direct mail and how it “tends to stick around,” meaning that it will often stay in the home for up to a month.

The same holds true for catalogs. Once people get them, they tend to hold onto them, providing your business with constant brand exposure.

But catalogs will only stick around, of course, if they’re done well. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to create a catalog that stands the test of time, instead of one that ends up in the trash.

Continue reading How to Create a Catalog or Even a Magalog for Your Company