• Donors Understand
  • Focus Options
  • Target Materials

Find Focus

By Heather Dimitt-Fletcher

Nonprofits can have many funding needs. You may have read that statement and thought, “No kidding.” Here’s the important thing about that statement, more than likely your donors realize that too. They probably recognize that funding is necessary to offer case management if you’re a social services’ organization, to provide feed and tack for horses if you’re a therapeutic riding organization, or to have a theatre if you’re a youth performing arts’ organization. However, as an after school program, when you say to one donor “We need $300,000 to pay staff, $50,000 to buy new computers, $100,000 to provide after school snacks, $5,000 for books, and $1.5 million to build and equip a new gym,” it’s overwhelming. Maybe you know you would NEVER say that in person to a donor, but what about your print materials?


It’s not uncommon to see nonprofits seeking donations for operations, program supplies, an endowment, participant scholarships, events’ sponsorships, and a capital campaign in one tri-fold brochure or an appeal letter. Have you ever been to a restaurant that had such an extensive menu, that it caused either you or another person at the table to be indecisive about what to eat? Research shows that customers prefer a more streamlined menu as it makes the decision process easier. It also makes it faster. The brochure or appeal letter that is a collection of all your organization’s needs is similar to a “too large menu”. Our clients found having every type of fund development need crammed into one brochure or letter diluted the message of each of those areas. It was overwhelming to potential donors. It made them indecisive about making decisions and often resulted in little to no gifts.

Provide Focused Options

Develop Targeted Materials

By developing separate print promotional pieces for each type of funding need you have, you can more fully describe that need. You can use copy that “connects” the donor to the need. You can target the donors to whom you send or give the print pieces, to ensure the funding need is one that would appeal to them directly. Perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t overwhelm the donors and helps them make a decision more quickly about giving a gift.