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3 Tips for Using Ask Strings on Fundraising Pledge Cards

You wrote a stellar appeal letter. Now, you’re staring at the computer screen, wondering what to do with the tired pledge card your nonprofit has been using for years.

A pledge card, a response mechanism for donors, seems like a simple piece of paper, but it is essential in any direct mail appeal. Used for more than simply collecting a donor’s basic contact information, the donation response card can help elevate giving.

This tool must go beyond collecting contact information such as phone numbers. The pledge card does the heavy lifting when it comes to the ask. While including a suggested donation amount in the letter can break the magic, a personalized ask string on the response card can help raise more money.

This blog demystifies this simple response mechanism with three tips on displaying ask strings, when to use them or not, and how to customize them for every donor.

With a quick edit to your nonprofit response card, you can raise more money with your next appeal.

1. Display the suggested donation amounts in ascending order.

Research has shown that suggested donation amounts displayed in ascending order, low to high, are best. Typically, small checkboxes are displayed before each amount in the ask string. There is psychological research behind how information is presented to us as humans. For the full deep-dive into this, check out the webinar, How Much Should You Ask For.


2. Customize the suggested ask strings for each donor.

Don’t ask every donor for the same amount or use the outdated method of putting everyone into a high, medium, or low tier. While donor segmentation is necessary for fundraising strategies, gift arrays should be further personalized in appeals and capital campaigns.

Information such as previous giving, capacity, and how often a donor gives can help create a custom ask string. Calculating this information for each donor can be time-consuming and tedious; use technology to leverage this method.

A tool like AskGenius can help set customized ask amounts for every donor.


3. Leave the pledge amount blank for major donors.

Major donors are generous, and suggested amounts for these high-end donors can feel awkward. Let them write in the amount they want to give. Use this method, whether for an appeal or creating a capital campaign pledge card.

Pencil in some time to create a pledge card that is simple, easy to read, and collects the necessary information to thank and steward the donor properly. Customize ask strings for all donors based on their historical giving. Lastly, use the tools and research available to ensure the heavy lifting of the ask happens in the pledge card.

To learn more about creating the best-performing pledge cards, check out The Ultimate Guide to Pledge Cards. This guide contains research-backed guidance on pledge cards and a free pledge card template.

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