Writing Online Appeals for Support – Best Practices for Nonprofits

Katarina Wagner March 08, 2022

In this post:

Benefits of using volunteering and donation platforms: Writing appeals for volunteers and donations on online platforms Information to include in different types of volunteer calls or donation appeals Get a sneak peek of the Alaya platform

One way of boosting support to your nonprofit is writing online appeals on external volunteering and donation platforms. In this article we want to have a closer look at the benefits of such platforms and give you some tips on how to stand out from the crowd and attract more supporters.

Benefits of using volunteering and donation platforms:

Instant exposure to a pool of motivated volunteers

Corporate volunteering platforms, for example Alaya by Benevity, are services for companies who want to promote doing good among their employees. That means that the companies will actively encourage people to go out and get involved for charitable causes in different ways.

Access to skilled volunteers

Corporate volunteers can offer your organization support in many different ways, not just by lending a hand in your programs in the field. You can get free strategy advice from financial experts or marketing professionals to bring your organization to the next level.

Promotion by word of mouth and reviews

Once one person from a company volunteers with your organization, it is likely that they will tell their colleagues about it – or their colleagues will reach out to them to learn more about their experience with you. 

One of the challenges of posting appeals for support on external platforms is standing out from the crowd. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of things to keep in mind when writing your calls for volunteers and donation appeals.

Writing appeals for volunteers and donations on online platforms

Short attention spans, scrolling, and clicking dominate user behavior on the internet. That’s why it’s important to adapt your content to be able to grab your audience’s attention, to hold it, and to make them follow your calls to action.

Best practices for writing online content

  • Remember the “inverted pyramid” model

Put the most important information on top and drill down to the details below. When people see your appeal for support, they will have two questions: What do you want me to do and why?
Avoid long introductions and answer these two questions at the start. 

  • Write descriptive titles and subheading

Highlight your core message in by giving it the biggest letters: the title and subheadings.

  • Make your text easy to skim

Use bullet points and bold to highlight the most important information.
Choose the wording in your sub-headers wisely so your readers will know in which paragraph they will find the details they’re looking for.
Write in paragraphs of no more than 2 lines.

  • Use action words to address readers directly

Avoid passive construction or general statements like “Volunteers for event needed”. Rather, tell readers how they can help, for example, “Support our event for x by helping us do x.”

  • Think of keywords your audience might use

On volunteering platforms, supporters can often search for specific causes and type of volunteering they want to get involved in. So think of the keywords your audience would use and adapt your communication. 

  • Add corresponding images

To support your appeal for support, add images that go hand in hand with your text. When calling for volunteers to help you out in a soup kitchen, for example, show volunteers cooking or handing out food, so your potential supporters can picture themselves doing the same.

Information to include in different types of volunteer calls or donation appeals

Depending on the type of support you want to receive, you should highlight different details in your appeal.
On the Alaya platform, for example, you can submit appeals for donations, goods collections, field volunteering, and skills-based volunteering.


  • What is the purpose & impact of the fundraising?
  • Which exact programs will be supported with the donations?

Goods collection:

  • Which goods can supporters donate?
  • What are the delivery options?
  • What are opening/drop-off hours?
  • What’s the exact address of the drop-off point?

Field volunteering:

  • What exactly will volunteers do?
  • How many people will participate?
  • What’s the duration of the Activity
  • How often does this field volunteering activity take place?
  • Where does it take place?→ Is there is a training required beforehand?
  • Is there a cost involved for volunteers?

Skills-based volunteering:

  • What exactly will volunteers do?
  • Which exact skills and languages do you need?
  • Is there is a training required beforehand?
  • Is it a short term or long term commitment?
  • Can it be done remotely?

Get a sneak peek of the Alaya platform

Want to learn more about how these volunteering and donation appeals look like on online platforms? 

Check out our demo of the Alaya platform and see how nonprofits profile and activity description look to users. 

By understanding how users browse and search for giving opportunities, you can adapt your communication and boost support to your nonprofit.

And if your organization is not part of the Alaya by Benevity network yet, get all info on our website and sign up here

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