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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

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