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Published on Feb 25

Is your appeal letter good enough?

make spring appeal better

It’s almost time to deliver your appeal letter to the post office, and your palms are sweating. The economy has been rough, and so much depends on this communication moving your donors to give again. Is your fundraising appeal letter good enough?

Let’s review some techniques to make your appeal letter as compelling as it can be.


Write to one person, from one person. Address the person by name. If you can’t do that, use the singular “Dear Friend” rather than the plural “Dear Friends.” Avoid phrases such as, “Some of you may think.” Instead, use phrases such as, “You may think.” Remember, you’re speaking to only one person at a time. The letter should be signed by only one person, and it should be written in the first person singular (I, not we.)

Tell a good, emotional story. People give based on emotion, so tell your readers a moving story about how you create a positive change in the world. If you care for sick people, tell the story of one person who recovered from illness thanks to your organization. If you give stray dogs a home, help us feel the joy shared by one dog and his new family. If you educate the next generation, introduce us to one student who is happily making her way in the world because of what she learned at your school.

Use design and structure to amplify the message. People skim fundraising letters, so lay out your appeal letter in such a way that they can grasp your message even if they don’t read every word. Tell your reader more than once what you want and why you need it. Have a strong opening paragraph, a strong closing paragraph and a strong P.S. Underline a few important phrases. Use photos that help tell the story and add emotional impact.

Long letters work better. This is true every time. You have the back of your sheet of paper—use it!

Eliminate extra expenses. Brochures seldom help response. Leave them out and save your money.

Get an audit of your appeal package. For a very small investment, you can feel confident that your entire appeal package, from the appeal letter to your mailing list, is optimized. You can apply the results to all your fundraising appeals.




For more information on getting an audit of your appeal letter, or for other expert help on your spring fundraising appeal, contact Fundraising Assets at 1-888-244-4013.


Fundraising Assets helps busy fundraising professionals raise more money, save valuable time and reduce costs. We offer consulting, writing, design and production services for direct mail and e-mail fundraising, social networking and more.

Posted Under Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Published on Feb 17

Tips for your spring fundraising appeal package

spring fundraising appeal letter

It’s time to start planning your spring appeal. Before we get into techniques that can amp up you appeal, let’s keep in mind the basics:

 

  • The more your reader feels like your appeal is a personal letter to them and only them, the more likely you are to get their attention.
  • The message is the crucial part of the appeal. An emotional story about how their gift makes a significant difference in someone’s life will motivate them to give.

 

Now let’s look at some ways you can increase the response to your fundraising appeal package:

 

  • Want to make your appeal package feel like a personal letter? Use a closed face envelope with a stamp and no teaser copy. The salutation in the letter should include the name of the individual. The reply form should also be personalized with the individual’s name, and suggested giving amounts should be customized for each individual based on that individual’s most recent gift. (For a sample, e-mail us at [email protected].)  This may be an excellent choice for your best givers or for segments of your list that you have targeted for increased giving, but the extra cost may not be justified for low-level givers or for an acquisition mailing. (Read more about personalizing your appeal letter.)
  • A very low-cost package that continues to produce well is an 8.5 x 14 sheet that includes both the letter and response form, a #10 window envelope and a #9 reply envelope. Click to see a sample. Another advantage of this package is that it allows you to code the reply form, making gift processing much easier and quicker.
  • Here’s an interesting idea: copy a testimonial letter from someone who was helped by your services and use it as part of your appeal package. Make sure the letter you choose includes specifics about how you helped. Create a handwritten note from the executive director (reproduced on a printing press) and mail. This is low cost and very effective. If done right, each of the 50, 500, 5,000 or 50,000 readers will think you sent them a personal note. (E-mail us at [email protected] and we’ll send you a sample.)

 

We can help you select the best package for your spring appeal based on the list you are mailing to. In addition to increasing results, we may be able to help you save money on production. For example, including a brochure usually doesn’t increase response rate or average gift. Save your money!

 

If acquisition is part of your spring appeal, and you know it should be, we can help with prospect lists to match your current donor profile.

 

Contact Fundraising Assets at 1-888-244-4013 or e-mail me at [email protected].  We can talk about packages that will help you reach your goals.

 

Fundraising Assets helps busy fundraising professionals raise more money, save valuable time and reduce costs. We offer consulting, writing, design and production services for direct mail and e-mail fundraising, social networking and more.

Posted Under Uncategorized | 32 Comments

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