Fundraising Power Words

Often, we frame our fundraising appeals from the viewpoint, “we, as the organization, do the real work of ministry, and you, as the donor, help us do our work.” We don’t mean any disrespect, but our words give the impression that the donor’s role is to simply provide us the resources so we can educate children, evangelize the lost, disciple new believers, rescue the broken, feed the hungry, and train future leaders, etc.

A more effective approach is to reframe your conversations from ministry-focused to donor-focused. Two fundraising power words will change your messaging: “you” and “because.”


“You” is the most powerful fundraising word. Take a close look at your brochure, year-end appeal, banquet ask script, emails, and even your thank you notes. Count how many times you use, “I/we/our” statements and how many times you say, “you/your.” It’s a revealing exercise. One way to make your copy more donor-centric is to switch the focus from “our” to “your.” Consider these examples:

“Our heart is to reach the next generation for Christ. You can help us with that.”

Instead use: “Your heart is to reach the next generation for Christ. We can help you with that.”

“Our hard work” vs. “Your hard work.”

Our mission is to share the Gospel. You can partner with us.

Instead use: Your mission is to share the Gospel. We can partner with you.

Think about using these phrases to engage your ministry partners:

“You play an integral role through your prayers and generosity.”

“You will help people whose greatest desire is a warm meal.”

“Your compassion and unselfish giving will make an eternal difference.”

“This is your compassion at work in the lives of children.”

“We know you have choices for how to donate your money we are honored that you would choose to provide help to these needy families.”

“Every time you give, you are making a lasting difference.”

“You can transform…”

“Your love rescues…”

“You help make their future bright.”

“That is where you come in.”

“You can get involved…”

“God used you to provide hope for children and families.”

“You are doing something that will outlive you and will last for eternity.”


The second most powerful fundraising word is “because” because it answers the question why someone should give to your project. “Because” is a connector word linking the donor’s heart to the critical need. “Because” offers a reason for the donor to take action.

Jerry Panas, the godfather of fundraising, coined the acronym BOY – “Because of you…” What an incredible way to start your donor conversations.

“Because of you lives have been impacted for eternity.”

“Your generous gift matters because students will be transformed.”

“Because of your sacrificial gift those who have never heard the gospel will now have a chance to respond.”

“Because of your kindness these children will now have hope.”

“I’m sharing Elizabeth’s story with you because she needs your help.”

“Because of you, transformational stories like Mary’s can become a reality for other needy children.”

In Paul’s letter to Philemon he uses both “you” and “because.” “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people” (Philemon 1:7). Here Paul’s words are totally donor-centric. He appeals to Philemon because his generosity had impacted many other believers. Do you hear Paul’s heart in his phrase, “because you, brother?” Do your donors hear your heart when you ask to partner with them?

How interesting that Paul understood the power of “you” and “because” centuries before Panas. Change your vocabulary and emphasize “you” and “because.” You will be amazed at the results because your words can make an eternal difference.

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