Nonprofits: The power in an ROI promise

The best nonprofit copywriting, from appeals to web to email, hinge upon emotion.

But what happens when you support that emotional pull with logic?

The nonprofit that merges emotion with logic creates an irresistible appeal to give.  Here are two examples:

Charity:Water:   $20 can give one person clean, safe drinking water.

Operation Kid Equip: $10 can provide one local kid with a backpack full of new school supplies.

How can you tie your organization’s appeal to a tangible?  How much does $20 buy?  $50?  $250?

Where have you seen good examples of this principle?

4 Responses to “Nonprofits: The power in an ROI promise”

  1. Debra says:

    Hi Pamela,
    You might be interested in checking out The Cara Program’s calculated ROI that measures our impact for each dollar invested.

    “Beyond the near-term outcomes, we have also explored the total social return on our investment as well. In brief, for every dollar invested in The Cara Program, $5.02 is produced over a five year time horizon in tax contributions, social security, sales taxes paid, and costs avoided (in shelter expenses, cash assistance, unemployment benefits, healthcare costs, food stamps, rearrests costs, and the like).”

    You can read more about our methodology here:


  2. Pamela, I’ve written and managed campaigns for our local Catholic Charities agencies for several years. They used to put amounts only on the remit envelope, but for the past couple of years, we’ve put amounts with “items” right in the collateral. Just short and sweet, 3-4 items such as $50 – Hot lunches for seniors. We go into a bit more detail and give more “choices” in the print and e-mail newsletter articles that support the campaign. I think this is very important. Thanks for reinforcing the idea.

  3. Mazarine says:

    Hi Pam!

    Thank you for writing about how we tie donations to things at our nonprofit.

    I was teaching fundraising at a board retreat this weekend and this concept came up. What I heard from the participants was that people aren’t interested in providing money for a fax machine, but they ARE interested in helping a kid who used to be homeless learn to play the violin.

    Call it sentimentality, call it drama, but sometimes what people are drawn to are the stories, not the things.

    What do you think?



  4. Lakin Green says:

    Thank you for the tips! this post got me thinking of new ways to raise money for a fairly new non-profit organization that I blog on called U Saved Me. I would like to help in the fundraising for the organization and getting a grant for them would be ideal! Ill be back!