After you write your letter, put it aside for a while. Come back to it the following day (or week) when you have a fresh perspective. Then edit it in brutal fashion. Cut every unnecessary word. This will result in a much stronger appeal.
Always include a P.S. in your letter. Use the P.S. as an immediate call to action. Since most people scan a letter (the intro, bolded/underlined copy and the P.S.), the last chance you have to compel a donor to give is in the P.S. Make it clear and strong.
Test mid-month appeals. Many organizations are successfully mailing 12 annual appeals (one per month) AND 4-6 mid-month appeals throughout the year. These mid-month appeals can add a lot of income to your bottom line. Be smart about it though. Don’t mail mid-month appeals in the summer where performance is already lower. Schedule them for the […]
“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 […]
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 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. […]