I’ve never, ever in my 28 years of living come across a nonprofit readily turning away donations and volunteers because they had enough.
Never have I heard the words “Thanks, but no thanks. We’re actually already accomplishing all the good we want to in the world. We’re cool.” come out of their mouths.
And I don’t think you’ve ever heard it either.
And if you’re one of the people in charge of recruiting volunteers or raising funds for a nonprofit, you’re probably already laughing your head off at this idea. Because it’s just that ridiculous.
Nonprofits never have enough money or volunteers to fulfill their wildest dreams of world peace and everyone living together in happy harmony. Never.
And while I’m not suggesting there’s any kind of solution to that problem (will there ever be? can you have too much good in the world?), I am suggesting there’s a way to maximize the volunteers and donation amounts you collect via your website.
Very real ways, in fact.
And it’s not as hard as you’d think.
In this video on copywriting for nonprofits, I’ll show you how to use your nonprofit’s website copywriting to latch onto the emotions your potential volunteers and donors already feel towards the work you do and prompt them to action… whether that action’s committing to work 10 hours as a volunteer, or to make a $10 donation.
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Copywriting for Nonprofits
Hello everyone! (And a special hello to the nonprofits watching—today’s video is especially for you.)
Today’s video is all about creating smart copywriting to help nonprofit organizations prompt the action and the donations you’re so dependent on to keep your operations going.
You guys do SUCH important work in your communities and in the world at large that I want you to be able to make the most out of your website and all the visits you get to it.
Today we’ll look at two different nonprofit websites, both of which are local to my area.
On one page we’ll focus on prompting people to sign up as a volunteer, and on the other page we’ll talk about prompting online donations from site visitors while they’re visiting your page in the moment.
And, I’ll be honest, a big part of this is playing on a person’s in-built altruism and desire to do good so they can feel good about being perceived as being the “good” person they really are.
I’m not talking about taking advantage of people, just bringing feelings and desires that already exist to the forefront so your visitors are able to take part in making the world a better place like they already want to, and you can use their willingness to take your organization to the next level.
- First we’ll look at the volunteer page for Buncombe County’s literacy council.
I volunteer with these guys as an ESL tutor and can say that they really do great work.
On this page, you can see they jump right into requirements—essentially “excluding” you as a tutor before you ever feel included to the possibility of it.
All of these requirements can still exist on this page, but we want to create an emotional connection with potential tutors.
A great way to do this is to get very real very fast.
So instead of starting with a description of the ideal tutor, I might add a section above it.
“Imagine living in Asheville & not knowing how to read. Or write. Or speak English… at all.”
Then I’d continue.
“It’d be tough, wouldn’t it?
Guessing at what the cashier told you and just hoping you’ve handed over enough cash not to embarrass yourself.
Or even if you had the grocery store skills down… trying to figure out what the heck you’re signing on a lease document or doctor’s release.
You’d know whatever it was you were signing was important and necessary… but what if this person was trying to take advantage of your weakness? Getting you to sign something they know you can’t read just to take advantage of you in the end?
Now we’ve set the scene and created an emotional connection. The readers have projected themselves into that dire, difficult situation even if they’ve never actually been in that situation themselves.
They feel the heaviness in their hearts and that twinge near their eyeballs. They probably stay composed, but they feel it. They’re humans, too.
And now? They’re far more likely to care deeply about what the literacy council does and get in touch about being a volunteer.
Because once you’ve got them hooked, you can then show them the qualifications after they feel included and empowered to help.
- The next site, where we talk about fundraising, is Mountain Roots.
I don’t have experience with this non-profit like I do with the other one, but they look cool.
Reading their about page, I learned that they do adventure learning with a focus on sustainable, environmentally responsible living within a community setting.
It may not be your cup of tea, but I’ll go ahead and tell you it is so perfect for this region where it’s located.
Bypassing the headlines for a second, I’m going to show you this big no-no in the first sentence. THIS IS BORING! And while relevant, not as much as you’d think, you nonprofit people.
I realize this classification is a big deal for you and how you operate your organization day-to-day, but it doesn’t matter to the rest of us. It’s WAY less important to the actual individuals supporting you – what they care about is how they’re positively impacting the community they live in.
So you can just put it at the end.
And now we’re getting to the heart of what that donation actually supports – which is the important part.
Here’s where we dig into the altruism.
“You’re on our website—so we know you already get it.
Sustainability and environmentally-conscious living are important. Not just because we like to be hippies living off the land, but because if we don’t stop and do something NOW, our children’s future—either before or after we’re gone—is going to be tough.
We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of what happens when we mistreat our environment, and things aren’t getting any better. It’s time to reclaim the land and the earth we live on. It’s time to take care of her and treat her with the respect she deserves.
Your donations help us do that.”
Particularly effective here is the call to protect the children… which we all have built innately into our evolutionary biology… even if it’s other people’s kids. It’s important for us as a species, so we respond. We want to take care of them, and if all you’re asking for is a $20 to $50 donation?
Damn right we can do it and feel good about it.
It’s all about making people feel good about making the right decision anyway.
That $20 is way better spent towards your cause than it is towards cocktails, and the reader knows that. They just need a reminder of HOW important your work is, which you show them.
So I hope you can see how effective copywriting can really transform a nonprofit’s website… especially on the pages where you’re trying to get people to TAKE ACTION or donate money.
It can be really hard to motivate lazy humans behind their computer screens, but if you make an emotional connection and make them feel good about themselves, they’re much more likely to side with you and your efforts.
If you liked this video, it’d be great if you could share it on LinkedIn or Twitter. (Or even Facebook, if you want to.)
You also want to make sure to hit “subscribe” because even though this video is specific to nonprofits, I’ll have other videos coming out that will help you with more specific things on your website—no matter what your type of business is.
And if you want even more tips on how to improve your on-site conversions now, I’ve got a link to my free e-book in the description below. It talks about five hacks I use on the landing pages I write to decrease bounce rates and increase conversion rates, which I think is something we all want from our websites.
If you found that video on copywriting for nonprofits helpful, I’d love it (and you) if you’d click on one of those cute little social media icons and share it with your network.
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