We use cookies to help us provide you with the best experience, improve and tailor our services, and carry out our marketing activities. For more information, including how to manage your cookie settings, see our privacy notice.


Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Covid-19 update: Government guidance changed on 19 July 2021 - we're currently updating our information in response to this. In the meantime, visit the government's guidance on lifting restrictions.

Community-made content which you can improve Case study from our community

How to raise funds without directly asking or appealing for them

Charities and not-for-profits ask a lot of donors. And there’s more and more of them asking than ever before. This guide will give you ten simple tips on how to increase your organisation’s income without direct appeals or asking donors directly to give.


The tips are based on a model that has worked for disaster relief charity ShelterBox but are equally applicable to other areas of work.

Things you'll need

  • Passion
  • Positivity
  • Personality

Connect donors to recipients

Donors are incredibly discerning about where they give their money and rightly so. By strengthening the link between donors and recipients you can create a sense of community that fosters a culture of giving. Show people where all their fundraising efforts end up and the impact their donation has had. The easiest way of doing this is through your website and social media. This is the first step to engaging donors in the work you do.


Shout from the rooftops

Transfer your own passion for the work your charity does to your donors. Don’t be frightened of telling people about the work you do. Use different platforms to do this. Use compelling copy, fresh videos, strong images and informative audio to show the difference your work makes. Make people care as much as you do.


Content is key

Tell donors something they don’t already know. Educate and inform them. Create content that does this and illustrates the difference your work is making to the lives of others. Keep your website, and any social media platforms, fresh and dynamic so people keep on coming back to you. You don’t have to ask them to give; show them how great your work is and they will naturally want to give.


Develop a personality

Give your organisation a voice and use that voice to talk to donors. The type of voice you have should reflect the core values of your organisation. Use it to grow your community online and offline. Develop and nurture the conversations you have with your donors.    


Be positive!

Every experience a donor has with your charity should be a positive one. Give them a rich and rewarding experience and they will want to come back for more. They’ll also start telling other people about you which in turn will raise awareness of your work and therefore the level of donations you receive.


Tell your story

We’ve all got stories to tell; what’s yours and what’s your charity’s? People relate to people and by providing an emotional hook to your work you will tap into the generosity of the human spirit. Play to the strengths of your stories and you won’t have to ask people to give; they’ll want to anyway.


“Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic”

What you say and how you say it is of huge importance. At ShelterBox we never talk about disaster victims; we talk about survivors. We don’t talk about internally displaced persons; we talk about families affected by disasters. The language you use is everything and should again represent the core values of your organisation.


Be honest, open and transparent

People need to trust you in order to feel confident when they make a donation to you. Inspire trust by being honest, open and transparent in all areas of your work and how you portray your work. Once people trust you they will happily give to you.


Say thank you!

Make your donors feel valued by thanking them. A personal and heartfelt thank you is the easy and free to give yet it still has a huge impact.


Engage with the traditional and social media

Increased awareness is vital to a growth in donations. To raise awareness you must have a clearly defined communications strategy that will maximise the impact you’ll get from traditional and social media. There are different approaches to both of these but the key element is that if an issue relevant to your work is making headlines then, as ruthless as it sounds, you should be looking to capitalise on it. Raise awareness and you will raise donations without having to make the ask. 

Further information

As well as ShelterBox, two charities, on different ends of the spectrum, who I believe engage and interact with their supports, and therefore make them want to give, are charity: water and CoppaFeel! - they're well worth looking at for examples of how to do it well.


Page last edited Jun 23, 2017 History

Help us to improve this page – give us feedback.