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Capturing a Donor’s Attention with Urgency

Capturing Donor's Attention Urgency

Capturing a Donor’s Attention with Urgency

Capturing Donor's Attention Urgency

“Why do you think the building going to fail, Jenny? It’s been here for almost 100 years. Who’s to say it can’t survive another 100 years.”

I was shocked! I was interviewing a longtime volunteer from my tennis club to gather some feedback about our restoration plans and capital campaign messaging. For context, this 96 year old tennis club building has been patched together with electrical, structural and infrastructure band aid fixes for the last 60 years. The bathrooms are borderline unusable, and there are literally sections of the building that are blocked off because of water damage.

But my volunteer didn’t see the need to restore the building as urgent.

Why? Because he needed to see for himself that there was a problem. He needed to see things with his own eyes. He needed to read the contractor reports about all the different aspects of the building that are not up to code. The project wasn’t urgent to him . . . yet.

Urgency is in the eye of the beholder. #fundraisingmojo ← Tweet this

Capital campaign case for support, annual appeal letters, an ask to become a monthly donor—they all must speak to an urgent and tangible need that must be addressed today.

Without urgency, your fundraising initiative goes in the “nice to have” rather than the “must have” category.

How to create urgency for a project

Address your donor’s objections before he/she raises them

Debunk and explain away your top three objections BEFORE your prospect mentions them. Objections are one way that donors delay and defer their commitment. Remove any barriers that may slow down their commitment by addressing them in advance.

Show them that the need is urgent

Seeing is believing. Bring the prospect into the urgency story. Let them see for themselves how urgent the need is via tours, conversations with participants, programming people and more. Reference statistics, waiting lists, demographic trends, to demonstrate how the status quo is not acceptable. Action is needed, and it’s urgent. Here’s why.

Be deadline driven

Human nature will delay and defer until there is a specific date to work back against. An anniversary, a scheduled meeting, a symbolic date—find something to push against to create a deadline for the project. If your deadline is too far in the future, create urgency with a short-term deadline—call it phase I, or create a public announcement to get the ball rolling. Something that will galvanize donors and volunteers to go out and get going.

A fundraising campaign is just a “nice to have” until it has urgency. #fundraisingmojo← Tweet this


Don’t be afraid to ask your prospect “What would it take for you to see this project/program as an urgent need?” Let them articulate what they would need to see before investing.



Does your current project or campaign have urgency? What can you do to ramp up the urgency level today? Find a date, a deadline, an announcement that will fuel your urgency energy.