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190 West Spring Street
Wytheville, VA 24382

LOBBY HOURS: 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM Tuesday thru Thursday
(closed Monday & Friday)
For consultation by appointment, call 276-228-6608 or email

New River Valley
2200 Kraft Drive Suite 2050
Blacksburg, VA 24060

LOBBY HOURS: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Monday thru Friday

Donations Need a Boost? Try These 3 Things

Donations Need a Boost? Try These 3 Things

Looking to increase the engagement of your donors or raise a little extra money? Enhance your efforts by tapping into people’s hearts. Whether you are mailing postcards or blasting an email, here are three tips for getting the most out of your appeals.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask. People want to help, so don’t be scared to put your “ask” front and center. Put the appeal at the top, center, and bottom of the page. Use brightly colored donation buttons. Even if money is tight, it’s hard for people to say “no” to a request for emergency supplies for earthquake victims or fresh drinking water for villagers in developing countries. Make it easy for them to help.

2. Tell the story of “one.” People identify with people, not causes. Donors are more likely to give when they can identify with a single, identifiable beneficiary. You can talk about hunger affecting 15.3 million children in the United States, but people are more likely to donate if you include a picture of one hungry child staring into the camera. You can sound the alarm that 2.7 million pets are euthanized every year, but recipients are more likely to open their wallets if they see the soft brown eyes of a fox terrier poking its nose through the bars of a metal cage.

3. Peer pressure can be a good thing.  Donors give because it makes them feel good, and positive peer pressure can encourage them to dig deeper. If donors had planned on giving $25, if you tell them that their peers are giving an average of $75 each (make sure it’s true), they are likely to rise to the occasion, or at least give more than they otherwise would. Another way to use positive peer pressure is to add checkboxes with predetermined gift levels. When people are presented with pre-set gift options of $25, $50, $100, or some other defined amount, they will often select a more substantial gift than when the request is open-ended. 

Whether by direct mail or email (or a combination of both), fundraising taps into the heart. Use pictures, get personal and don’t be afraid to ask. 

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