No matter why you’re holding a fundraiser, it’s important to communicate to your audience exactly why this cause so important to you and your group. Their money is key to your organization being able to achieve its short-term and long-term goals, such as purchasing uniforms or equipment, funding trips, or planning the activities that provide immeasurable value to the community or your team.

The most successful fundraisers are the ones that elicit a strong reaction from their donors. Creating an emotional response with your fundraising campaign is the best way to encourage people to open up their wallets and give to your club, team, or organization.

Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Don’t Be Afraid To Tug On Donors’ Heart Strings

Humans are naturally emotional beings, and when we hear a story that makes us really feel something, we respond in a much stronger way. Take advantage of your donors’ emotional sides by highlighting what makes your organization so special.

If you’re working with a team of underprivileged kids who desperately need new uniforms, show off the old, dirty ones. Don’t be afraid to discuss how they’re impacting the kids’ ability to play: they might be the only team in town that doesn’t have new uniforms, leaving them feeling down on themselves long before they set foot on the field.

If you’re fundraising for a trip, tug at people’s heart strings by explaining that there are children who won’t be able to go and enjoy this important experience if they aren’t able to raise the necessary funds. Play up the sad possibilities and watch people’s hearts open.

Tell Your Story

Story is a powerful medium. It evokes strong emotion in the people who are hearing it. Has your team unexpectedly overcome a number of obstacles to rise to the top of your league? Tell them all about it! Do you have group members who have done incredible things? Let your sponsors celebrate with you!

Don’t be afraid to share your own emotions, from your pride in the kids to your despair. Your story doesn’t just mean something to you. It’s also a vehicle for helping your team, club, or organization mean something to people who might never have connected with you before.

Don’t Just Tell—Show!

It’s much harder to turn down a real-life person than is to turn down an abstract concept. This is the same reason many waitresses keep pictures of their kids pinned to their aprons: people are more likely to give money when they feel a connection to the people involved. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

When possible, let the kids on your team or in your organization tell their own story. When it’s not, make sure to include pictures of your group in action.

Share The Power Of Giving With Your Donors.

When people give, they feel good, right? They also use their giving to accomplish positive change in the world—often one child or one team at a time. Help donors feel a positive connection with giving to your cause by sharing what they’re able to accomplish through their gifts. Make it clear that they’re the ones making it happen! The words you use matter. For example, you could try statements like this:

  • “Your gift will make it possible for our team to have new uniforms, raising their confidence on the court and making the most of every game.”
  • “Your donation will send underprivileged team members on the trip of a lifetime, allowing them to pursue their goals at a higher level.”
  • “Your support makes it possible for us to keep our team together, opening doors for its members that they never imagined.”
  • “We couldn’t do it without you!”

Donors who feel connected to your organization and committed to the positive change they’re able to accomplish through their donations will be more likely to feel good about their giving, which will make them give more—and that’s exactly what your organization needs.

Use The Full Range Of Emotions To Your Advantage

Studies show that there are six strong emotions that are most likely to create a reaction in your donors: happiness, surprise, disgust, anger, sadness, and fear. When you can appeal to any of those emotions, you can draw your donors out and encourage them to give more in support of your group.

Target donors where it’s most likely to do you good. For example, a millennial will be more likely to become angry or disgusted with perceived injustice, while an older individual might respond more to a sad tug at the heart strings or a happy view of what their donation will accomplish.

Watch Your Donor’s Face

For many clubs and organizations, fundraising is very personal. You or members of your group will have the chance to interact personally with each person who’s interested in supporting you. Facial expressions are key to determining whether or not you’re able to create the needed emotional response to connect with them.

While some might donate out of a sense of obligation or because you’re offering a product that interests them, when you note an emotional reaction in your donor, you’ll know that you’ve caught them. As a result, they’ll be more likely to give. That doesn’t mean that you have to lay it on thick. Rather, be honest and clear while exemplifying that emotional appeal.

Designing a fundraiser that relies on emotional appeal is the best way to reach donors and convince them to give to your group. Many people are picky about how they spend their donation dollars. By creating that emotional appeal—especially if you’re able to do it in person—you’ll be better able to convince them that your organization is worth putting at the top of their list.