How Units of Impact can help Nonprofits to raise money

Crowdfunding Advisors

Tips & Tricks

How Units of Impact can help Nonprofits to raise money

Crowdfunding Advisors, FundRazr Team

Helping our community get to the next level of crowdfunding success

For nonprofits, everything comes back to social impact. Instead of profits, you’re focused on making a difference — directing all the effort and resources you possibly can towards the causes, social issues, and vulnerable groups that you serve. Focusing your message on relatable and smaller acts can help you raise money more efficiently.

Since nonprofits typically rely on donations, that means your audience of supporters needs to care as much as you do. And unless they can actually see how you’re making a difference, how can you expect them to get on board? 

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That’s what Units of Impact (UoI) is all about — moving away from broad, general statements to help your audience truly grasp the difference you’re making (with their help)! Let’s break down what Units of Impact are, why they matter, and how they can help you take your donor relationships to the next level. 

What is a Unit of Impact?

A Unit of Impact is a small, tangible, and specific outcome — something that may not seem like much on its own, but acts as a building block to move your charity closer to its greater goal. 

Units of Impact must be focused on your beneficiaries or mission in order to be effective. Talking about how your charity itself will be impacted, while obviously also important, simply doesn’t have the same power. 

You should aim to make your UoI as compelling, attention-getting, or even dramatic as possible while promoting your campaign. Stay away from anything dull- or technical-sounding, even if it’s actually important to your charity’s mission. 

Speaking practically, it’s also important not to choose too many options for your UofI, as doing so can confuse your viewers and muddle your message. You’ll also want to choose a memorable, high-quality image for each to help your donors visualize as clearly as possible.

Units of Impact in Action

Here are two great examples of charities using Units of Impact to drive their missions forward.

Forests Without Frontiers 

Throughout their campaign, Forests Without Frontiers aims to inspire a specific action — planting trees. Everything from their CTA button, to the ‘perks’ offered for different donations, is described in terms of how many trees were planted. There’s no mention of boring, overhead costs like web hosting, printing, or rent. 

Black Girls’ Global Exchange

Black Girls Global Exchange is another charity that’s broken down their mission into Units of Impact. This is particularly effective since their goal is so large — they’re raising money to send Black girls from barriered communities on cultural learning trips to destinations like Eswatini and South Africa. 

They’ve broken those larger goals down into much smaller, more achievable units. For example, $50 would pay for a program participant to visit a museum, while $125 would cover their passport application.


Why are Units of Impact So Powerful?

This approach is so effective because it helps donors visualize the difference they made with their donation. Even though giving is an altruistic act, donors do get something out of it — on some level, they’re motivated by the joy of knowing they helped someone else. 

UoI maximizes that satisfaction for your audience. When donors feel that they made a measurable difference in someone’s life, no matter how small, it gives them a sense of pride in, and ownership over, the difference they’ve made. 

Communicating impact has always been important, but it’s more prominent than ever today, in the Internet age. The younger generations, Gen Z and Millennials, expect honesty, transparency, and immediate access to information — and Units of Impact deliver that. 

UofI can also help with donor retention. The specificity and small scale of UoI gives donors a sense of involvement in your charity’s day-to-day activities, rather than just a general sense of support for your mission. That means your donors are much more likely to stick around, becoming passionate advocates and active members of your community.

How to Use Units of Impact

Of course, it makes sense to use Units of Impact when asking for donations — that’s a strategy we always recommend, in the form of Perks and Wishlists. But UoI are a powerful addition to all your nonprofit’s communications. In fact, you can think of UoI as the crucial, foundational component of how you talk to your donors. 

Here are some ways to use UoI to build donor relationships and maximize conversions. 

Try using Units of Impact:

  • On your campaign page, as part of donation flow 
  • In your post-donation thank you messaging
    • Reiterate what a difference your donors made by framing their gift in Units of Impact 
  • To share your charity’s progress
    • In e-newsletters, social media content, and other communications, use UoI to recap how far you’ve come thanks to your donors’ help
  • Throughout your website and mission statement
    • Use UoI to take an impact-focused, action-oriented tone

Sharing your impact in actionable terms

Even if the term ‘Units of Impact’ is new to you, we hope it’s clear how well-aligned this strategy is with what nonprofits care about most — making a difference and changing the world in a positive way. 

Whatever your mission, it can be broken down into small, yet powerful units that add up to something much greater than the sum of their parts. By using this technique to communicate with your donors, you’re keeping them beside you every step of the way. 

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