There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States. That means if you want to stand out, you need to do something different. Sure, you could offer different pricing, features or benefits, but there’s one element you can tweak to increase conversions almost instantly: copywriting
Good copy brings out emotions in readers. It gets them excited and makes them more likely to support your organization. But where do you begin? There are countless copywriting principles—you’d be stuck for months learning them all.
That’s why we’re going to teach you about power words. No formulas or complex techniques—just simple and powerful words you can implement into your copy to increase conversion rates.
Power words trigger emotional and psychological responses in readers. Without them, copy or headlines can become boring and predictable. They can help persuade people to buy a product, opt in to a list or, in the case of your non-profit, become a paying supporter.
Liraz Margalit, Ph.D., is a specialist in consumer behavior. In a 2015 article for Psychology Today she stated,“Although we like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, absorbing information, weighing it carefully, and making thoughtful decisions, many of our most crucial choices are made by what we call hunches, gut feelings and a somewhat automatic reaction that is beyond or beneath consciousness.”
What does this mean exactly? Essentially, Liraz is stating consumers tend to use emotions for making purchasing decisions, but justify it with logic. Using power words brings out these emotions and triggers consumers to take action that creates conversions.
Using the word “imagine” instantly paints a picture in potential supporters’ minds. It allows them to see the results of supporting your nonprofit before they’ve even done it.
For example, you might say, “Imagine the smiling faces of the children you’ve helped by donating toys.” It makes the donation more tangible and creates an emotional response.
What’s one of the most common concerns with donating to nonprofits and charities? People are worried about how their money will be used and how it will make a difference
That’s why the power word “investment” is so useful. It changes donating to investing, which is associated with having a return—in this case, a positive impact on a social cause or helping others.
Instead of saying “We’d appreciate your donation,” you can say “Your investment will help children for years to come.” This removes worry that potential customers may be facing.
Also, think about what the customer gets out of funding you. Remember, it’s an investment. That means there’s some form of return. It doesn’t have to monetary, either. The return of investment can be anything including:
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation puts the name of every donor on a publicly viewed list as a reward for donating.
Similarly, you should use the word investment along with tangible benefits customers receive for supporting you. You could offer t-shirts, mugs, pens, or other little items as a token of appreciation.
Yale University’s psychology department performed a study that found “you” to be the most influential word, and it’s easy to see why. Using the word “you” instantly address the reader and gets their attention. It makes your copywriting sound more personal and direct.
Look at Doctors Without Borders. They made their donation page sound more personal by framing it as “your” donation.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 8 hours working, 9 hours doing personal care, and almost 2 hours doing household activities every single day. Why does this matter? Because people are busy.
The word “quick” and variations of it are great power words because they tend to those with busy schedules. This is a great principle you can take from e-commerce world—making the process as quick as possible.
Customers will be more likely to donate to your non-profit if you use this principle in your copy. It instantly lets them know that you won’t be taking much of their time, and they can still help out without cutting into their regular routine.
Find the time and money to support a cause can be difficult enough, so you shouldn’t expect your customers to go through hoops to contribute to your nonprofit. This is why you need to make it as easy as possible—both literally and through your writing.
You see this all of the time in commercials. “Get it now with 3 easy payments.” You instantly change the dynamic of any message when you indicate how much effort is required. For example, “Help your senior community today with just one easy donation” makes the process seem less daunting, making potential donors more likely to give.
This shouldn’t be mistaken with “easy” or “quick.”. The power word “hassle-free” implies that the customer won’t have regretted making a donation after the fact. A lot of supports worry that they’ll be hounded by phone calls, emails, and newsletters—make them feel comfortable by promising a hassle-free donation.
There’s a reason for everything—or at least, customers want there to be. If someone is asked to give money, you can expect them to have some objections. They want to know if they’ll get something worthwhile in exchange. This is why “because” is a strong power word; it solves questions and offers a resolution.
One of the greatest copywriters to ever live, Joseph Sugarman, once said that predicting objections is a crucial component of good copy. You can implement into your writing by first explaining why your nonprofit is important.
Supporters will have peace of mind knowing exactly where their money is going, giving them confidence and trust in your nonprofit.
People generally donate to nonprofits for one reason—to make a difference. What changes does your organization help create and are you including it in your message? Many nonprofits are making the mistake of not talking about the difference they make in real terms. The power word “difference” instantly instills in the mind of the reader that helping out will impact the local or global community.
Urgency is effective. There’s no debate about that. Fear of missing out (or FOMO for short) is something that most people experience on a regular basis. It instills the feeling that you’re going to miss out on something great if you don’t take action now.
This also mixes in a call-to-action, which further enhances the urgency. You can see how the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada uses urgency on the front page of their website.
Use the word “hurry” to give readers a fight or flight response. You can entice them to make a quicker payment, opt in or whatever step you want them to take.
Everyone likes something new. It’s practically built into the human psyche to want the latest and greatest. Buffer even found that “introducing” to be one of the most influential words in the English language. “New” is associated with quality, cutting-edge ideas, and excitement. That’s why when you introduce something about your nonprofit, it can instantly get readers excited.
There are endless ways you can increase your conversion rates as a nonprofit. However, one of the simplest and quickest ways is through using power words.
Every word has emotion attached to it. You can completely transform your message by using certain words.
These words can be placed into headlines, ads, promotions and any other written material you publish. What are you waiting for? Try out these power words today and see the difference they make yourself!
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