Write for your audience, not your boss or board (Tip #43)

“New,” “fresh,” and “cutting edge” approaches to your direct mail will almost always result in lower performance.  Marketing departments, board members, and sometimes even fundraisers will want to move away from what they perceive as “old” or “stale” direct mail. The problem with this logic is that you are not the average donor.  Neither are […]

Watch your tone when writing fundraising copy (Tip #42)

A positive, inspirational tone in your letter is better than the doom and gloom approach.  Donors want to support successful organizations that have big vision, plans for achieving great things and solving big problems.  Gone are the days of sending out the “if we don’t get your gift this month, we’ll be forced to shut […]

Write fundraising copy the way you talk (#41)

Write your letter copy at the 5th grade reading level.  This may drive your brand people crazy (especially if you happen to be in higher education or healthcare), but writing at this level makes your copy easier for donors to read and understand.  Remember, your goal isn’t to show your donors how smart you are.  […]

Does your fundraising copy pass the “you” test? (Tip #40)

Use the word “you” early and often in your letter copy.  It is a powerful way to connect with your donor. Use the word “I” to make your letter more personal and real.  Avoid using “we,” “our,” or “us,” as they give your letter a more institutional feel.

Bite-sized fundraising copy is best (Tip #39)

Don’t write long paragraphs.  It doesn’t matter how many paragraphs are in your letter, just don’t have more than 3-4 sentences in each paragraph.  It’s ok to break up a long paragraph into two or three smaller ones too. Breaking up your content into bite-sized paragraphs makes it easier to read and digest your information.

Focus on 1 person in need for best fundraising results (Tip #38)

Fundraising letters that talk of the plight of millions of starving people in need of help tend not to work as well as those that focus on the suffering of one person.  That’s because it’s hard for people to personalize such large and overwhelming issues.  It’s also hard to understand, as a donor, how my […]