In a year where aid is more essential than ever, crowdfunding is a global tool for powerful change. But people want to know that their money is going toward something meaningful — to capture the hearts and minds of donors everywhere, your fundraising page needs good copy.
As a copywriter, I use words to build brands people believe in. Getting consumers to support a brand is a lot like getting donors to support a cause: both require an emotional connection. There’s a lot that goes into writing words that raise money, but it really comes down to one thing: good copy tells a story.
Your fundraising page should tell a story, too ✨
Ideally, this story will be compelling. It will clearly state what you are doing, but more importantly, it will share why it matters. If you are funding an internet-shattering new product launch, show readers how their purchase will solve daily problems and make life more magical. If you’re collecting funds for new jerseys and equipment for your daughter’s basketball team, describe how the revamp will take them to victory — and why others should feel invested in supporting that journey.
Show people why they should care right away. When you give people a reason to believe, they are more likely to support your cause.
Keep it simple and natural 🌿
The biggest difference between writing for fun and writing to sell is simplicity. When you want a reader to take action, you have to make the ask easy. Think about all the messages you consume each day. Television commercials, billboards, email promotions, Instagram ads, and an endless stream of other print and digital messages beg for your attention — and action — every day. With so many ways to spend and give, it is safe to assume your audience has a divided attention. They will tune out if a message isn’t focused and inspiring.
Don’t let this discourage you! This is your opportunity to make your organization stand out. Your cause is personal to you; bring us inside your world. What fuels your mission? How does your work inspire others? How will people feel after giving?
David Ogilvy, an OG Mad Man and copywriting whiz, famously said, “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife.” Explain your mission as if you were telling it to someone dear to you. Put feeling behind your words. There’s no need to overcomplicate your message with complex vocab or long-winded sentences. Let your mission speak for itself. The best way to connect with people is to be direct, human, and natural.
Consider this fundraising page for a kayak-for-cancer event:
The Castaways Against Cancer is a rag-tag group of sea-hippie friends, founded by Steve O’Brien (OB), who kayak every summer from Miami to Key West. It’s a 160-mile, 7-day adventure to raise money to fund cancer research and honor those who have fought the fight. In 2021 we are having our inaugural 170-mile, 10 hour cycle from Miami to Key West as well.
Since 2000, the Castaways — thanks to friends, sponsors, supporters, and well-wishers like you — have raised over $1,200,000 in the fight against cancer.
We are fueled by OB’s inspiration to “light a candle instead of cursing the darkness” after his mother’s passing.
It’s that simple. We kayak, you donate, and we all pray for a cure.
Brilliant. In just 118 words, you get a sense of the organizations laid-back, “sea-hippie” style, as well as the story behind the event. You get reasons to believe: the Castaways have raised $1.2 million for cancer research over the course of 21 years. And in terms of writing to sell, the last sentence is a thing of beauty.
“It’s that simple. We kayak, you donate, and we all pray for a cure.”
This minimalist closing brings readers into the center of a shared vision: finding a cure for cancer. It breaks down the donation ask into easy-to-follow, easy-to-care-about pieces. It makes giving absolutely intuitive.
Start to think about your nonprofit like a brand 👏
The most successful brands are fueled by purpose. Nike brings inspiration and innovation to athletes at every level, from casual yogis to NFL champions. Supergoop is changing the way the world views sunscreen. Recess creates calm and clarity in a world bubbling over with stress.
You already know your organization’s purpose. Now, find a creative way to share it with the world. Copywriters grow brands with ideas. Money helps, but good ideas are gold.
Imagine that you are looking for corporate sponsors for an event to fight world hunger. Your purpose is to feed hungry people around the globe. Instead of sending a traditional donation request, you send enough donuts to satisfy each company’s sweet tooth. You include a note with a link to your fundraising page and a message that sticks: For millions of people, finding food has never been as easy as opening a box of donuts.
You have made it extremely difficult for any of the companies to indulge in a donut without thinking of those who go hungry. By making a massive need feel personal, you made your organization stand out in a sea of donation requests. Emails get lost, but ideas are harder to shake.
Sometimes people have to come face-to-face with a problem to understand its significance. Make your purpose impossible to ignore. If you want to reach your wildest fundraising goals, it has to be.
Collaborate with a copywriter ✍️
Nonprofits hire copywriters to refine their messaging and create engaging outreach materials like one-pagers, fundraising pages, websites, and well-designed donation requests. Writers are experts in voice and tone, and can ensure that your audience connects to your mission—mind, body, and soul.
At Oyster Fruit Studio, we partner with Givebutter's modern fundraising platform to help brands, orgs, and nonprofits tell their stories. We take the most special part of your purpose and turn it into a rallying cry your audience can get behind. Because when copywriting is done right, you don’t need to shout your message from the rooftop. Your supporters will do it for you.
Givebutter made a $100 donation to Lauren and Ksenia's campaign of choice, Castaways Against Cancer, for their guest blog.
Co-Founders of Oyster Fruit, a creative studio on wheels. They travel to places that give them goosebumps, then bring pearls of wit and wonder to clients' brands.