The benefits of using strong photos and compelling videos to appeal to your supporters are well documented.  And for good reason.  Visuals can help you paint a clear picture in the mind of a supporter, helping to propel them to action.  Generally speaking, more concrete depictions will be more emotionally moving.

But it’s important not to overlook the role that copy plays in creating compelling annual appeals and ultimately inducing action.  The words you write need to be just as meaningful as your multimedia as they will play a significant role in convincing a casual supporter to get involved.

Below are four ways to strengthen the copy you write for your fundraising appeals.

Use Statistics to Establish Need

Using statistics can help to objectively establish the need your nonprofit is addressing.  Plus, effective use of a stat can convey a great deal of information in a few words.  For instance, UNICEF recently sent out the following tweet:


That’s an incredibly powerful use of 19 words (not counting the hashtag).

Use Stories Whenever Possible

Stories can be incredibly compelling.  They help us picture what’s being said.  Whenever possible, put a face on your fundraising campaign by including a moving story.

Kiva, an organization that helps connect donors with various projects worldwide, does a great job telling the story behind each project on their site.  They tell the backstory of not only the project, but also the people behind each project, including details on their home lives, their families and the impact they’re trying to make.  Donors don’t feel like they’re just giving to a project – they’re giving to a person.

Share How Donations Will Be Used

It’s helpful to get as detailed as possible when outlining how funds will be used.  Many donors will want to know what kind of impact their dollars will have prior to giving., a website that allows donors to help fund a variety of educational initiatives, shows an itemized list of every supply that a teacher is requesting:

Donors Choose Itemized List

Doing so allows donors to see exactly where their money is going prior to giving.  It also makes the teacher seem more accountable, accounting for every dollar that’s being requested.

Share Past Successes

Sharing the success you’ve had in the past helps establish your track record and instill confidence in potential donors.  Donors can see you know what you’re doing, making them more likely to support your cause.

Charity: water, an organization dedicated to providing clean drinking water to populations all over the world, supports their awesome imagery with strong stories, weaving them together to create a poignant showcase of the impact they’ve had in the past.  They include concrete impacts coupled with statistics and a detailed story about individual people that have been affected by their work.  The words on their site complement the images to help a potential supporter feel the impact they’re having in the communities they serve.

Have you seen any examples of organizations using copy to tell a compelling story?  Or have you been moved to donate to a cause based on the story they told?  If so, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Linda Cronin, Flickr