January 23, 2020

Encouraging Friends and Family to Give: Eight Tips for Getting Others to Support Your Cause in 2020

Author National Philanthropic Trust

If you’re passionate about an organization or cause, it’s natural to want friends and family to join you in supporting it. Some of the biggest nonprofit fundraisers aren’t staff—they’re people like you who want to make a difference. But asking loved ones for donations can be awkward, and you may feel unsure about how to get started. Here are some tips we’ve culled from academic research and the experience of our giving experts at National Philanthropic Trust:

  1. Express gratitude every step of the way. Whether you’re sending an initial email or sharing a Facebook fundraiser, thank your potential donors—even before they’ve made a contribution.
  2. Use a variety of channels to reach different people. Social media can be great for reaching friends you don’t talk to often. But for close friends and family, a direct ask in an email, phone call or face-to-face chat can be more effective. In general, research shows that the more channels you use to reach people, the better.
  3. Tell a story. Dry statistics rarely compel people to give. Instead, use storytelling to demonstrate the impact your cause has had on a single person’s life. Research shows that people feel more encouraged to help when presented with the story of a single individual than when told about large numbers of people affected by famine or other disasters.
  4. Appeal to the donor’s personal values. When you reach out to a friend, make a connection between the cause and your friend’s interests and values. For instance, if you are raising funds for a clean energy initiative, mention your friend’s efforts to take care of the environment.
  5. Ask again. Don’t expect to get results from a single ask. Instead, take advantage of social media, like Facebook and Instagram, to ask for donations several times over the course of your campaign. If you use a thermometer to show that you’re getting close to your goal, you may receive more contributions, one study shows.
  6. Make it easy. Take the guesswork out of the donation process by providing friends and family with a link to a donate button. Consider the various ways that people make donations; let them know if the organization accepts gifts by credit card or from donor-advised funds.
  7. Create a birthday fundraiser. Show your enthusiasm and commitment to a charity by asking friends and family to donate to your fundraiser in honor of your birthday. Social media sites like GoFundMe and Facebook offer simple and effective tools for a campaign.
  8. Invite friends and family to get involved in ways other than donating. People love to feel connected to the organizations they support. In fact, over 30% of American adults volunteered for an organization in 2018, according to a government study. What’s more, evidence shows a strong relationship between volunteering and giving. It’s just human nature that the more involved we are with an organization or cause, the more aware we are of the need and the more likely we are to donate.


NPT does not provide legal or tax advice. This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be, and shall not be relied upon as, legal or tax advice. The applicability of information contained here may vary depending on individual circumstances.

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