Have you ever been caught off guard at an event where it would be appropriate for a board member to make a short, impromptu “appeals speech” but there is no one equipped and willing to make that appeal? As part of being an advocate for your nonprofit organization, every board member should be prepared to deliver an “appeals speech” that can be used at information sessions, fundraising events, or member/donor meetings.
Everyone (board members, staff and volunteers) can become a stronger advocate for your nonprofit organization and use the Appeals Speech outline, below, to develop a personalized 4-5 minute talk to solicit donations from any audience. Using the ideas presented in each step, anyone can mix and match the sentences (or add their own) to create an appeals speech that is comfortable for them. Then, everyone associated with your organization can be ready to make the speech at any time – at formal or informal settings, with audiences large or small.
Forward your board members a copy of this Appeals Speech outline today.
Step 1: Introduction (30 seconds)
1. My name is __________ and I’d like to introduce my husband/wife
2. I’m a board member/committee chair/officer of xyz organization.
3. Thanks so much for being here today.
4. I’m so proud to be on the board of directors of xyz organization.
5. I never tire of hearing about and talking about our programs and projects.
Step 2: The Need Described (30 second) What problem is the organization trying to solve?
1. As you heard today, there are X (#) of people in _______ with _____ (disease, poverty stat, literacy, etc)
2. Our community suffers from _________________
3. Statistics show that _____________________
4. Unfortunately, we know that ________________________________
5. As we were reminded today, ___________________________________
Step 3: Mission and Accomplishments (1 minute) What is the focus of the organization?
1. The focus of xyz organization is ____________________
2. As you know, we work with ______________(client group) and provide ______________
3. Last year, we delivered _____________________ (statistic)
4. We have X (#) volunteers and X (#) staff members who work full time to ensure that _______
5. Already this year, we have supported/provided/delivered ____________________
6. I’d like to tell you about a recent experience I had with one of our clients. (tell the story)
7. It makes me feel good when I know that my financial support goes to help ____
Step 4: Budget Considerations (1 minute) What it costs to run the organization.
1. To support our staff, officers, and operations/programs, we need to raise about $X per year.
2. Our annual budget is $ X per year.
3. We enjoy the financial support of corporate sponsors like ____ and _____.
4. We proactively apply for 6-8 government and foundation grants each year.
5. We have _____ (#) members whose dues help support our programs.
6. Nearly $ X/Y% per year comes from individual donors like you.
7. X% of every dollar does directly to support our ____________ programs.
Step 5: The Appeal (30 seconds) Making the ask – short and sweet
1. Your donation of $X today will provide _______________
2. If you could give us $X/month over the next year, you would support ______________
3. Won’t you join _________ (spouse’s name) and me in investing in this important cause?
4. Won’t you consider supporting xyz organization?
5. I’m here to ask you to make a pledge/donation to xyz organization today.
6. We particularly need funds to support our _______________ project.
7. Please think carefully about the stories you’ve heard today and consider helping clients like ________ with a charitable donation today.
Step 6: The Mechanics of a Donation or Pledge (30 seconds) How to make the donation.
1. In the back of your program you will see a donation/pledge card which you can tear out and leave with your donation/pledge today.
2. Your table captain has your pledge card that can accompany your donation today.
3. By leaving your donation and contact information with one of the scribes circulating throughout the room, you can join hundreds of others who have helped our clients.
4. There are volunteers at the donor station near the back of the room who can collect your donations today.
5. Let me introduce the other board members who are circulating in the audience/room here today and who can answer other questions you might have. They would love to talk to you about the work of xyz organization.
Step 7: Thank You
1. Thank you for coming today enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
2. Thank you for your attention.
3. Thank you for being with us today to learn more about xyz organization.
4. Thanks for coming today and helping us promote this wonderful organization.