Today, more than 1.9 million nonprofits exist in the United States (according to recently filed 990s). Most are dependent on charitable dollars to meet their annual expenses.  

Make no mistake your organization IS competing to be heard and understood by the donor public. And you are competing for funding in a declining pool of charitable support. (Gallup poll, 2020) It stands then that the better we make our case, with clarity and conviction, the more the giving public will be drawn to our organization.  

I want to share three simple ways you can amplify your claim with major donors.  Your “claim” (or case) is that by supporting your organization, lives will be changed or saved because of the partnership between you and the donor.  

1.) “Open the Hood”

Let your donors see the inside of the organization.  

We often use the illustration of tracing a single drop of gasoline from the fuel tank to make the car move.  What happens to the money as it moves through the organization? Tracing a gift from receipt to changed life can powerfully motivate donors to give again and give more.   If you need help in this area, check out an exercise that categorizes INPUTS, OUTPUTS, OUTCOMES, AND OUTCOME ROI posited by Tom Ralser in ROI for Nonprofits.

2.) Be Honest About Challenges

I was leading a group of high-net-worth donors on a trip to Southeast Asia.  They had invested substantially in a large literature project.  When we visited the warehouse of publications they had supported, we were shocked to see many books destroyed by termites!  


Managing the poor conditions in that country was a significant challenge in keeping and distributing paper books. Yet, by seeing the challenges we faced, they were able to help produce valid solutions and continued to invest heavily in the country.  PTL. 

3.) Spotlight the Heroes

Each organization has heroes.  Often someone who doesn’t have the platform or the spotlight. Highlighting these people only increases the credibility of your claim and builds a deeper affinity with the donor. Investors know that good people drive great outcomes.  Don’t be shy about sharing the stories of your staff or partners.  Do they require special skills or training to do what they do?  

One of our client’s trains teens to be outspoken evangelists to their peers.  These bold “missionaries” to their public schools are an inspiration to the donors supporting the organization.  Heroes.

Amplifying your claim is not screaming for dollars, but clarifying your case so strongly that donors are naturally attracted to you and your cause.

So, let’s go change the world!