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Aristotle & The Fundraiser

nonprofit fundraising

More than 2300 years ago Greek philosopher, Aristotle outlined the three main components of persuasion - Ethos, Pathos, Logos. These pillars of persuasion are still applicable today and are important tools in a nonprofit fundraiser's toolbox.

Ethos is a Greek word for character. Aristotle used ethos to describe someone's character, personality, or authority. Ethos is what fundraisers can use when trying to convince prospects that their idea, or in the case of fundraising their organization, is worthy of support.

Pathos means emotion. It refers to appealing to the heart of your prospect. If you want your prospect to support your organization, you need to make them feel something, stir an emotional response or connection. For fundraisers, sharing a true story about those who benefit from your organization's mission is a good way to appeal to your prospect's emotions.

Logos refers to your word or ability to reason and emphasizes the importance of logic in the proposal you are presenting to your prospect. In fundraising logos lives in the facts, figures, and statistics that back up your proposal, the data of your organization.

As a fundraiser, working on being more persuasive doesn't mean you're manipulating your prospect, rather you're being clear about the importance of your organization's mission and the reasons it's worth supporting.

Sometimes a blast from the past is exactly what we need to jumpstart our today. When the attention of your prospects is at a premium and securing their investment in your organization's mission is ever more competitive, perhaps just the thing you need to stand out is a bit more persuasion in your asks.

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