Why Illustrating the Impact of $1 is Such Effective Fundraising [VIDEO]

“3 dollars can feed an entire family for a week.”

“A dollar a day can buy a polio vaccine.”

“For the cost of a latte, you can cure a child’s blindness.”

You’ve heard these kinds of illustrations before—you might even have used them yourself.

They’re incredibly effective, but it’s important to understand WHY they’re effective. It’s not the words themselves but the strategy behind them.

And once you understand that strategy, you can use it throughout your fundraising to create powerful messages for your donors.

Why Illustrating the Impact of One Dollar Works So Well for Fundraising:


One of the most effective techniques for demonstrating your nonprofit’s impact to your donors is to illustrate the impact of one dollar for your cause.

When I say one dollar for your cause, I don’t mean it has to literally be a single dollar, but it does have to be some small amount people can wrap their heads around, like “$5 dollars can provide clean water for a village for a week”. It could even be something like, the cost of a latte could help provide clean water for a week: the concept still applies.

There are two reasons that this is such a powerful way to illustrate the impact of your cause:

1.  We can easily visualize what one dollar looks like.

It’s simple, not abstract or hard to get our mind around: it fits in our wallets. If you say, “We need $100,000 to solve world hunger!” the typical donor will say, I don’t know what $100,000 even looks like, I don’t really know what’s happening with that money, and I sure don’t have $100,000 anyway so what can I do!

It’s too abstract. But saying “a $10 donation buys a polio vaccine,” that is simple, concrete, and powerful.

2. The second reason this is so powerful is that it gets around the All or Nothing Mindset.

This is the mindset that keeps most people from charity and it goes something like this:

“If donating money to a charity is a good thing, I should be doing more of it. In fact, if it’s worth doing at all, I should be doing it instead of buying a new TV or going out to eat with my friends. And since I’m not willing to give up all those things, better to ignore it entirely than to feel like I’m not doing enough.”

Of course, then NO one gives and nonprofits suffer.

But the $1 dollar illustration helps you overcome the all or nothing mindset. It’s ok if you can’t give away all of your life savings, in fact we don’t EXPECT you to. All you need to give is $5 dollars right now, or $10 every month. And then when hundreds of people give a small amount, the world benefits.

And that’s why it’s important to be able to know exactly how much impact a donor creates when they give to your nonprofit, even if it’s just one dollar.

Thanks for watching.

the impact of one dollar bill fundraising

Marc Koenig

Marc Koenig is a regular contributor of Nonprofit Hub. Marc believes smart, ethical marketing can make the world a better place, and strives to create content that helps nonprofits tell better stories, push their organizations to excel and do work that matters. You'll find him writing Nonprofit Hub featured posts, brainstorming infographics and tweeting up a storm at @npmarc - follow him and say hi!

November 13, 2022

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