7 Tips for Creating a Compelling Nonprofit Donation Request

Your nonprofit’s fundraising team is hard at work developing new ways to connect with donors and increase revenue. But perhaps you feel stuck in a rut or like you’ve hit a plateau. How can you continue engaging supporters time and time again in ways that feel fresh and compelling?

In this guide, we’ll use these gift-solicitation tips to design a request that’s impossible to refuse, along with examples of each best practice: 

  1. Personalize the request.
  2. Lead with gratitude.
  3. Center supporters in the request. 
  4. Highlight the impact of donors’ gifts. 
  5. Generate urgency.
  6. Be specific and direct. 
  7. Provide multiple ways to give. 

Keep in mind that you should only make a donation request to donors with whom you’ve spent a few weeks or months building relationships. Only after sharing information about your mission, offering details about donors’ potential impact, and getting to know donors on a personal level should you send a specific donation request. 

This is especially important when stewarding donors ahead of a major campaign, such as a capital campaign. You’re asking donors to help reach a major goal, and that kind of dedication requires thoughtful relationship-building ahead of time. With that in mind, let’s explore our tips for perfecting your donation request. 

1. Personalize the request.

Donors don’t want to be treated as anonymous members of a larger group—they increasingly expect personalized interactions that align with their unique interests and preferences. In fact, 71% of consumers expect brands to deliver personalized experiences. 

Use donor information stored in your nonprofit CRM to personalize your donation request by: 

  • Including the donors’ preferred name
  • Referencing past interactions
  • Sending the request using the donor’s preferred communication platform

Use these personalization tips for both individual donors and corporate sponsors. Reference past interactions with corporate partners, such as events they sponsored or volunteer opportunities that their employees participated in. 

Adhere to CRM maintenance best practices to ensure the accuracy of your supporter information. For example, regularly audit your database, standardize your data entry procedures, and train staff and volunteers on database maintenance processes. 


  • Good morning Alyssa! We can’t thank you enough for your past $500 donation. 
  • To the generous supporters at Johnson Group Inc.: We’re reminiscing about the incredible volunteer clean-up sponsored by your company last year. 
  • Hope you’re having a great summer, Marcus! We know you are a passionate supporter of our Puppy Paws adoption program, and we wanted to reach out with a donation opportunity that fits your interests. 

2. Lead with gratitude.

According to research by author Adrian Sargeant, around 13% of donors stop giving to a nonprofit because they were never acknowledged for their gift. This underscores the importance of infusing gratitude into all donor communications, including your donation requests. 

Start each request by thanking the donor for their past contributions, whether it was a donation, volunteer work, or advocacy support. Include specific details, like the donor’s exact gift amount and date, to show supporters that you’re paying attention. 


  • Jenna, we can’t thank you enough for your $1,000 donation on July 23, 2023. 
  • Alejandro, thank you so much for your dedication as a passionate social media advocate for our mission.
  • Corrine, we appreciate your passion for our mission and your monthly volunteer commitment to supporting our programs. 

3. Center supporters in the request. 

Your donation request should keep supporters at the center, not your nonprofit. This empowers supporters, showing them that they have the power to make a difference as individuals. 

Emphasize the crucial role donors play in your mission by taking these steps: 

  • Ensure your communications pass the “You-Test.” Are you using more second-person language than first-person? Using the second-person pronoun “you” helps keep your message relevant to supporters’ perspectives.
  • Make your donation request as accessible as possible. Prioritize user experience when designing your request letter or email. Use readable fonts, strong color contrast between the text and the background, and easily skimmable paragraphs. 
  • Highlight the benefits that supporters will receive. For example, let donors know that by giving right now, they have the opportunity to join your donor circle, which offers benefits like exclusive events and free merchandise. 

Many nonprofit campaigns have no chance of getting off the ground without donors’ support. Make that evident in your donation request letters and emails by keeping supporters’ best interests at the forefront of your donation request. 


  • Nonprofit-centered message: Our nonprofit is working tirelessly to end childhood hunger in the local community. Donations allow us to provide more meals to children in need. 
  • Donor-centered message: The generous efforts of donors like you are helping to end childhood hunger in the local community. Your donations help get more meals to children in need. 

4. Highlight the impact of donors’ gifts. 

Sergeant’s research found that another primary reason donors stopped contributing was because they weren’t given any information about how the nonprofit used their gift. Ensure your donation request provides clear information explaining how your nonprofit leverages donations to further your mission. 

Illustrate donors’ impact using the following elements: 

  • Data and statistics that illuminate the scale of your organization’s work
  • Images of beneficiaries or volunteers who have been supported by donations
  • Videos showcasing the positive impact of donors’ gifts
  • Testimonials from beneficiaries, staff members, and volunteers

Impact updates can help steward both major and lower-tier donor groups. For major donors, you could create a personalized impact report detailing the scope of their support. For smaller donors, you can demonstrate the impact of donations in general or point out how even smaller donations add up to make a major difference. 


  • As you can see in this graph, the generosity of our donors and volunteers has allowed us to increase our community outreach by 80% this year!
  • Your $300 will help purchase supplies and clothing for families experiencing homelessness.
  • Here is your personalized Spring 2024 Impact Report with details about how your generous donations have pushed our mission forward. 

5. Generate urgency.

Adding urgency to your donation request inspires donors to give right now instead of waiting. Let supporters know why you’re reaching out now and why it’s important for them to seize this opportunity to give. 

Use a visual representation, like a fundraising thermometer, to depict how far you have left to go in your fundraising campaign. Plan time-bound fundraising campaigns to inspire supporters to help reach a specific goal. 

A fundraising thermometer created using the free tool from Bloomerang


  • There are only five hours left in our Fill the Pantry fundraising campaign. Help push us toward our $10,000 goal by giving right now. 
  • Donate right now to get your gift matched by a generous sponsor! This match opportunity ends at midnight. 
  • Give before the year ends to ensure your donation is tax-deductible.

6. Be specific and direct. 

Ask for a specific donation amount based on the donor’s giving capacity rather than a vague call for donations. It’s easier for a supporter to say yes to a specific gift amount rather than having to come up with a number themselves. 

Use your donor management system to determine the right amount for each supporter. Review donors’ previous gift amounts and any wealth screening information you have about their giving capacity to develop custom requests for each donor. For example, a $500 request might be appropriate for a donor who has regularly contributed between $300 and $500 each year.


  • Would you be willing to donate $150 right now to push our campaign toward the finish line? 
  • Can we count on you to contribute $20 toward our goal?
  • Can Steve’s Grocery donate 200 canned goods to our food drive? 

7. Provide multiple ways to give. 

Donors vary when it comes to which platforms they prefer to use to donate. These differences often fall along generational lines. For example, research shows that older generations prefer giving via direct mail or phone calls, while younger supporters lean toward online donations. 

With that in mind, offer donors multiple ways to give in your donation request letter. Spotlight donation avenues such as: 

  • Your online donation page: Include a QR code or link to the page in your request.
  • Mail-in donation: Provide your nonprofit’s mailing address in the request.
  • Phone call donation: Offer a phone number supporters can use to connect with a staff member and make a phone donation.
  • In-person gift: Provide your nonprofit’s physical address so supporters can make in-person donations. 

You can also highlight non-monetary donation opportunities, like in-kind gifts. This is especially relevant if you’re reaching out to a corporate sponsor who may be able to contribute an in-kind donation from their workplace. 

To streamline the donation process, Bloomerang recommends looking for fundraising software that enables donors to give “whenever, wherever.” Your fundraising software should integrate with your donor management system and marketing platform to enable cross-platform donation requests. It should also offer a PCI-compliant payment processor to reassure donors that your giving process is secure and trustworthy. 


  • We accept donations via our online donation page [link to the page] or mail-in gifts to our address: [address]. We also accept in-kind donations at our facility at [address]. 

Wrapping up

After you’ve spent time stewarding donors and building relationships, a compelling donation request is the last step toward securing their support. Use these tips to draft effective requests that boost your fundraising efforts, helping you reach your campaign goals. 

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