Get extra mileage from your fundraising appeal letter

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You’ve produced a great fundraising appeal letter. It tells an emotional story of someone who has been helped by your nonprofit organization. You’ve mailed the appeal letter out.

                But if you stop there, you’ve missed a free and easy way to get more readers— and possibly more donations.

                Simply post your appeal letter on your Web site.

                You could label the page “Success Stories” or “Your Donations at Work” or even “News.” On that page, you’ll type a headline or short summary of the story told in your appeal letter. Link that headline to another page that contains the full appeal letter or to a pdf of the appeal letter.

Every time you create a new appeal letter, add a new headline and link on your “Success Stories” page.  Always add the newest link at the top of your list.

                In addition to expanding the number of people who may read your fundraising appeal letter, this technique has other advantages:

  • Search engines, such as Google, rank your site higher the bigger it is and the more frequently you update it (among other factors). Adding fundraising appeal letters to your Web site presents another opportunity for you to update your site and add pages.
  • By posting a number of appeal letters about different kinds of individuals, you are able to show the range of the people you help. For example, you may want to show that you help adults as well as children, or single people as well as families, or people from different geographic locations or of different ethnicities. It’s much more powerful for a visitor to read stories and see photos of different individuals, rather than be told statistics about the kinds of people you help. It’s the old adage: Show, don’t tell.
  • People are impressed by quantity. When they see story after story of people you have helped, visitors to your site realize in a more visceral way that your nonprofit has helped many people. Again, show, don’t tell.

 

One more tip: Post your newsletters on your Web site, too!

9 Comments »

  1. 1

    If you don’t get your lure in the pond others will catch the fish you are dreaming of. I tell all my clients to make appeal letters/emails a part of their ongoing strategy. There is a reason we get bombarded with mail like this, it works! This post is good as you can not just throw something together and get it in the mail and hope it sticks. Thoughtful well crafted appeals are not that hard but sadly few seem to take the time.
    Good word!

    Comment by Mark Brooks — October 8, 2009 @ 3:19 PM

  2. 2

    You’re right. Well crafted fundraising appeal letters aren’t that hard to create– if you know how to do it. I think many staff members at nonprofits are responsible for too many tasks and can’t develop the expertise they need in any particular area, such as writing and designing appeal letters. I also think many staff at nonprofits don’t realize that there is a technique in creating a truly effective appeal letter. You’re right in that they feel anything they mail out should work. Thanks so much for your comment!
    Connie Oswald Stofko

    Comment by Connie — October 9, 2009 @ 10:01 AM

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