Fundraising Appeal Speeches – Getting Nonprofit Board Members Ready Anywhere, Anytime

Have you ever been caught off guard at an event where it would be appropriate for a board member to make a short, impromptu “appeal speech,” but no one is equipped and willing to make that appeal? As part of being an advocate for your nonprofit, each board member should be prepared to deliver an “appeal speech” that can be used at information sessions, fundraising events, or member / donor meetings. .

Everyone (board members, staff, and volunteers) can become stronger advocates for their nonprofit and use the appeals speech outline below to develop a one-to-one 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 appeal speech that is comfortable for them. So everyone associated with your organization can be ready to deliver the speech at any time, in formal or informal settings, with audiences large or small.

Send your board members a copy of this outline of the appeal speech today.

Step 1: Introduction (30 seconds)

1. My name is __________ and I would like to introduce my spouse

2. I am a board member / committee chair / officer of organization xyz.

3. Thank you very much for being here today.

4. I am very proud to be on the board of directors of organization xyz.

5. I never tire of listening and talking about our programs and projects.

Step 2: the described need (30 seconds) What problem is the organization trying to solve?

1. As you heard today, there are X (#) people in _______ with _____ (illness, poverty statistics, 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 achievements (1 minute) What is the organization’s focus?

1. The focus of organization xyz is ____________________

2. As you know, we work with ______________ (client group) and provide ______________

3. Last year we delivered _____________________ (statistics)

4. We have X (#) volunteers and X (#) staff members working full time to ensure that _______

5. Already this year, we have supported / provided / delivered ____________________

6. I would like to tell you about a recent experience I had with one of our clients. (Tell the story)

7. I feel good when I know that my financial support will help ____

Step 4: Budgeting 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 financial support from 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. Almost $ X / Y% per year comes from individual donors like you.

7. X% of every dollar goes directly to support our ____________ programs.

Step 5: appeal (30 seconds) Ask the question: short and sweet

1. Your donation of $ X today will provide _______________

2. If you could give us $ X / month for the next year, you would support ______________

3. Wouldn’t you join _________ (spouse’s name) and me in investing in this important cause?

4. Wouldn’t you consider supporting organization xyz?

5. I am here to ask you to make a pledge / donation to the xyz organization today.

6. In particular, we need funds to support our _______________ project.

7. Think carefully about the stories you have 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 donate.

1. On the back of your program you will see a donation / pledge card that you can tear off and leave with your donation / pledge today.

2. Your table captain has your pledge card that you can accompany your donation today.

3. By leaving your donation and contact information with one of the scribes circulating the room, you can join hundreds of people who have helped our clients.

4. There are volunteers at the donor station near the back of the room who can collect their donations today.

5. Let me introduce you to the other board members who are circulating in the hearing / room here today and who can answer any other questions you may have. They would love to talk to you about the work of the 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 joining us today to learn more about the xyz organization.

4. Thank you for coming today and helping us promote this wonderful organization.

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