Confidence in the cause improves fundraising success

January 30, 2014

Confidence in the cause improves fundraising success

A study by Georgia Tech has helped identify what some of the most successful phrases are for use in Kickstarter campaigns. The phrases can also provide nonprofit fundraisers with an idea of how certain language can impact the effectiveness of social media posts, print materials and even speaking in person with a potential donor.

While the study is very comprehensive, Nonprofit Quarterly has provided a nice infographic that provides a couple of the key findings. The phrases fit well into two different categories and correlate closely with the success of the campaign:

  • Confident language: Phrases that exude confidence in the success of the fundraiser were typically more successful. "Your continued," "also receive two" and "mention your" were considered strong language. The phrases suggest that funding so far has been positive.
  • Passive language: Phrases such as "hope to get" or "not been able" suggest that the group views the success of fundraising as beyond its control. If a nonprofit does not sound confident in its ability to support the cause, potential donors won't either.

Applying positive phrases to other forms of fundraising
According to the nonprofit research firm GuideStar, this positive language can also be used when asking potential donors for money. For instance, it suggests asking a donor for a contribution of $1,000 a year for three years. The power in the phrase is that it shows you consider your cause of enough importance to ask for a large, continued investment. Should the potential donor agree, you have the added bonus of securing some future funding without having to ask again.

You can also apply this confident language to any of the ways in which you engage your clients. When posting updates on social media, sending out fliers or writing commercials. Nonprofits should as for money, not beg for it. A confident aura when raising funds shows that while they are needed, the organization is a capable one. Donors give money to causes they believe will succeed and positively impact another person's life.  

Develop your own list of key phrases 
The phrases from the study are helpful, but could be awkward to work directly into all crowdfunding campaigns. Before approaching donors on the Web or in-person, sit down with a fundraising team and throw around some positive, confident terms that can help make your next fundraiser a success.

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