The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to Create a Sense of Urgency for Your Nonprofit Message

Nonprofit marketing and fundraising is about motivating people to do something specific – not just to think about your cause. Channel attention into action if you want to change the world.

So how do you get people to act? You should speak to their values and connect to them emotionally, obviously. But it also helps to have a sense of urgency. Don’t just tell them to act, show why they need to act NOW.

Here are five simple tactics for building a sense of urgency in your next fundraising appeal, advocacy campaign or membership drive.

 

1. Set a deadline. 
As any procrastinator knows, nothing concentrates the mind like an imminent deadline. Set a goal and tie it to a date. People will be far more likely to give or take action as the deadline approaches. Make sure to publish this deadline on related landing pages, donation forms and fundraising appeals.

 

2. Make it close. 
When people sense you’re close to the finish line on a goal, they are more inclined to help you cross it. If you’re close to your goal, show how people can put you over the top. It creates tremendous urgency. Illustrate this in your fundraising appeals by using fundraising thermometers or tickers in your emails and on your donation forms.

 

3. Create scarcity.
When people feel an opportunity is running out, they are more inclined to take action. “Get your tickets now – only ten seats left at our gala!” is better than “attend our gala!” Beyond events, you can create exclusive giving levels or thank you gifts that have limited availability.

 

4. Be specific. 
Think of it this way: it’s easy to say no to something hard and hard to say no to something easy. Make your call to action clear, quick and easy and people are more likely to act now.

 

5. Build a campaign, or join one.  
A coordinated campaign can help supporters feel like they’re participating in something bigger. If you don’t have a campaign planned, think of how you can leverage seasonal or current events to help create a sense of urgency. Consider joining a giving day or larger organized fundraising event for your region or issue to help rally your community for support and create buzz around your desired action.

Adapted from Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog

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Liz Ragland
Manager, Content & Community

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