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Raise More Money by Featuring Values in your Fundraising Appeals

Updated: Mar 15

A donor is holding a credit card while typing on a laptop.

The most effective fundraising appeals are grounded in your values. They’re created in a values-aligned way that communicates your values to your reader.

What does this look like? Consider these examples.


If you value collaboration:

  • Collaborate with service users, colleagues, volunteers, or other community members to create your appeal. They can help develop the theme and messages, curate the stories and images, and review the copy.

  • Write about the ways you partner with others in the community to fulfill your mission. Name the people and organizations that your organization and service users rely on and tell your donors where they can learn more.

  • Use collaborative words like together, shared, co-create, cooperative, participatory.


If you value activism:

  • Tell the stories of the people demonstrating in the streets and showing up at the capitol to create change.

  • Include a call to action in addition to asking for a financial contribution.

  • Use activist language like power, change, reform, demand, win, insist, and claim.


If you value innovation:

  • Showcase innovations in your programming – tell your readers what makes it innovative.

  • Feature service users or staff who are trying new things.

  • Try out new language or design features in your appeal and tell your readers why you’re doing it.

  • Use words that suggest innovation like new, experimental, imagine, and pilot.


If you value racial equity:

  • Provide your readers with the historic and systemic context for the issues you’re addressing.

  • Be specific about what you’re doing to address systemic inequities that impact your service users, staff, and community.

  • Use your appeal to elevate the voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

  • Write about race, equity, justice, white supremacy, and privilege.


As you share your values, also be clear with your readers about what it takes to live these values. Living collaboration, activism, innovation, racial equity, and other values requires financial investment, as well as the action and commitment of your staff, volunteers, donors, and others. Share that cost clearly with language like, “it takes $100,000 a year to organize community members to advocate for more rental assistance,” or “it takes $350,000 a year to test this innovative treatment program.”


There are as many ways to live and communicate your values as there are values. And we know you’ll move more money to mission when you ground your appeals in those values.


We can help you get started. In Values-Based Appeals, we’ve packaged our proven appeal method, letter and email templates, tips, and group coaching so you can craft an effective appeal with greater ease and joy.


Check-out How to Write a Values-Based Fundraising Appeal for more ways to embed Community-Centric Fundraising principles in your appeals.


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