The graphic above is the best way I know to show why it’s so helpful to donors when nonprofits share “before and after’s” in their fundraising.
The distance between – the contrast between – the “before” and the “after” is what shows the donor the power of their gift.
Here’s how it works…
Appeals & E-appeals
When you’re Asking for a gift in appeals and e-appeals, you want to share the “before and potential after.” Describe the “before” – what’s happening now that needs to be fixed? Then describe the “potential after” that the donor’s gift will help make possible.
If the distance between the before and the potential after is large, the donor will feel like their gift will make a big difference. And when you make your donor feel like their gift will make a big difference, you’ll get more gifts.
When Reporting back to donors in newsletters, you want to share the “before and after.” Your newsletter story or E.D. letter should describe the “before” (what was happening that help was needed”) and then describe the positive “after” that the donor’s gift made possible.
If the distance between the before and the after is large, the donor will feel like their gift made a big difference. And when you make your donor feel like their gift made a big difference, you’ll get more future gifts.
When you create a lot of direct response fundraising, you quickly find out that donors care much more about the “before” and the “after” than they care about how your organization made the “after” possible.
So don’t spend time in letters and emails talking about your programs, or about how your programs work. That’s the “how you made it possible.” Save that info for grant applications and the small group of major donors who love the ins and outs of your programs.
For direct response fundraising, show donors the big distance between the before and the after. If you can get your donors thinking, “Wow, my gift can make that big a transformation?” or “Wow, my donation made that big a difference?” – they’ll loving giving to your organization because of the impact they can make.