Opportunities vs. Problems: Which will your donors support?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

I’ll cut to the chase. People want to take advantage of opportunities more than they want to solve problems.
Here’s how it works in fundraising.
“Problem” messages:

  • We need help
  • The water is dirty and undrinkable
  • Over 25,000 children are hungry
  • Too many homeless people are freezing
  • We are running dangerously low on blood

“Opportunity” messages:

  • You can make a huge difference for Sarah
  • You can make the water clean and drinkable for Baako
  • Your donation will feed Sasha
  • Your gift will give Jim the blanket he needs to stay warm
  • Your blood could save Jenna’s life

I’m not saying you should avoid explaining the problems. I’m just saying your messages should frame the problems in ways that present them as opportunities.

Access our FREE webinar: Words that Work — The Phrases that Encourage Giving


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5 years ago

I love this approach to fundraising. I’m planning to purchase your book soon.

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