If your nonprofit’s direct mail copy doesn’t communicate that your charity urgently needs money when attempting to convince the reader to donate, then something is very, very wrong. You can expect the results of your campaign would be about the same if you told the mail shop to find the nearest dumpster instead of the nearest post office.
But when expressing an urgent need, some nonprofits perpetually sound like they are “going broke.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
No one wants to donate to a charity perceived as ineffective or a bad steward of their donors’ contributions. When surveyed, donors often cite concerns about their donations being used wisely as a roadblock to giving.
If the organization is always a month away from the lights being cut off but can never explain how it’s using donations to successfully advance its mission, the level of urgency expressed in the fundraising copy isn’t the real problem.
However, if the reason it sounds like your nonprofit is going broke is because you’re putting all your donations to work successfully advancing your important mission, that is something donors can appreciate.
One of the main benefits that drives people to freely give away their money to charities is they feel good about making a difference in a cause they connect with personally. And everyone feels better about donating or spending their money when they know they’re getting the most value for their dollar.
If your nonprofit is doing valuable work and urgently needs more funds to keep that good work going, your current financial crisis isn’t a hindrance for current and potential donors — it’s a motivation for giving.
A number of other key elements must be incorporated in your fundraising package for it to really be successful (an intriguing outer envelope that gets the package opened, compelling copy that tells a story and connects emotionally with the reader, convenient reply options, etc.), but “going broke” can present some favorable fundraising opportunities.