How To Communicate A Sense Of Urgency Through Your Online Fundraising Campaign

Posted on: March 26, 2021

In today’s world, the average person has about four devices; mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and computers. This means that their choices for content, along with what to consume and how to consume information is almost limitless.

These choices make it even more essential that, when your non-profit has an urgent need, you are clear, personal, relevant, and quickly get to the point.

If your non-profit has a crucial need, it is imperative that you communicate that need to your supporters in a way that will inspire them to act. You want to avoid your supporters skimming through your online appeal, so it is vital that you catch their attention and convey the urgency quickly.

Here are some helpful suggestions for you to convey a sense of urgency to your online supporters.

Make Your Appeal Simple And Concise

As was mentioned at the beginning of this article, people have so many choices for accessing content that demands their attention. It is easy for your appeal to get lost in the shuffle. One thing you don’t want to do is to gain a supporter’s attention and then lose them because there are miles of text for them to wade through. Your fundraising appeal should be concise, about 300 to 400 words.

Use Straightforward Language

When you are wanting to convey a sense of urgency, be clear about what you are asking for. It is best not to use industry jargon but state your need in clear, concise language. Rather than using phrases like “we would sincerely appreciate” or “it would be of great assistance,” state your request effectively. “Donate today” is expressing a genuine call to action that is clear and unmistakable.

State The Need And The “Why”

It may seem obvious from the point of view of the non-profit, as they are all too familiar with their unique needs, but that unique need is not always clear to donors. To a donor, non-profits always need donations, so what makes the current appeal different from any other request? What makes this particular appeal urgent? 

This is the juncture to tout the positive impact your non-profit has made and of the good that has resulted. 

Specify that the need is urgent and let your donors know what will happen if those donations don’t arrive. You don’t want to “guilt” any donors into responding, but you do want your supporters to know that there are consequences when the funds for urgent needs are not met. 

When your donors understand that they are making a valuable, life-changing difference for others, they will also feel good that your non-profit provides competent and effective stewardship of their dollars.

Use Words That Convey Immediacy Like “Today” Or “Now”

The world we live in is extremely busy and hectic. The recent pandemic did not necessarily slow life down; instead, it consolidated our world to four walls where life became intense and filled with even more duties and obligations. 

An appeal can easily get lost in those kinds of shuffles. Adding words like “today” and “now” can convey a sense of urgency and can motivate your donors to contribute and not delay their donation. 

Letting your donors know that your donation process is “simple and quick” will also add encouragement that a donor will be able to make a positive impact for your non-profit without it taking much time out of an already hectic schedule. 

Letting your donors know, too, that their contribution will be used “immediately” towards the cause also conveys the urgency of the situation.

Set A Deadline For Your Cause

You probably are already familiar from personal experience that nothing focuses your mind and actions like an imminent deadline. There are even those people who work best under the pressure of an approaching deadline. 

When you are making your urgent appeal, provide a deadline. Always be honest about your deadline. 

Never set a second deadline for the same need or project. That will damage your credibility and reputation, and potential donors will question if the need was, indeed, urgent. 

Make the deadline realistic but in the immediate future. There is no sense of urgency if your project has a due date a year out, but if your project needs funds in the next thirty days, there is an inherent priority attached to the deadline.

Use A Fundraising Thermometer And Other Visuals

Using visuals along with an appeal has a more significant impact. Visuals improve comprehension, which is important when you have an urgent appeal.

Dr.Lynell Burmark, Ph.D., Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development, states that we remember visuals better than text because they are processed in our long-term memory. 

Dr. Burmark says that “unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear…and go out the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about 7 bits of information…images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory.”

The urgency of a situation can be better conveyed with an image pertinent to the cause. Visuals that convey the need itself create an emotional connection for the donor, and help them to understand why the need is urgent. 

The fundraising thermometer enables the amount of the need, and the progress towards fulfillment, to be easily conveyed. It can show that your non-profit needs their help, and can also show that your donor can help them reach the goal. 

Additionally, being able to see the immediate impact of their donation often causes donors to increase the size of their donation in FundEasy & FundEasy Lite – just to see that thermometer fill a little more!

Final Thoughts

Microsoft conducted a study in 2000 that measured how long people could focus on one thing for a specific amount of time. They found that the attention span for the average person was 12 seconds. 

By 2015, that attention span had dropped to 8 seconds. There are so many demands on a person’s attention that people tend to focus on each new demand for a short length of time. 

Following the suggestions laid out in this article will give your non-profit an edge in capturing potential donor’s attention and conveying the urgency of your worthy cause. 


Please feel free to contact us @MinistrySync on Instagram or Facebook or email us at care@ministrysync.com, and let us know if you’d like to learn more about our event planning tools, FundEasy or AttendEasy.

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Crystal Hoag
Crystal Hoag

This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events. 

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