Donor communications

Published on May 23, 2014 by

What bad fundraisers don’t understand about long copy

This year, I’ve taken on several new clients. And I’ve found myself having variations of the long vs. short copy discussion with all of them except one.

What surprised me was some of them were working with other consultants before me. So I thought they would not be averse to trying long copy to lift income and/ or response. Not so.

Here’s the “I’m-going-to-fight-you-on-this-even-though-I-know-little-about-fundraising-and-we-desperately-need-more-money” version of the discussion.

ME in meeting to discuss upcoming appeal letter: “Now how would you feel about doing a four-page letter?”

CLIENT: “I HATE long letters! I/ my wife/ the chairman ...

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Published on May 14, 2014 by

Beware! Are your EOFY appeal letters as good as these?

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen the first of the EOFY appeal envelopes arrive in my mailbox.

The verdict?

I’m impressed.

Aside from my own clients, I support several non-profits. In previous years, they’ve had – shall we say – rather lacklustre direct mail.

But several have really lifted their game this year. Improvements include:

1. Very well crafted propositions – specific rather than generic offers I’d really be interested in giving to.

2. Very good use of story – these non-profits seem to have actually gotten someone out there to interview beneficiaries. Rather than plonking in a ...

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Published on April 2, 2014 by

The 3 biggest issues I’m seeing right now with 2014 tax appeals

Sorry to all for not being more regular with posts but I’ve been working very hard on several tax appeals – possibly even yours!

One thing I find very interesting. Sometimes more attention seems to be paid to haggling over minor phrasing than to issues that will actually make the biggest difference to appeal results. Hence this post.

The issues causing me the most concern as I try to get the best possible results for clients are these:

1. Getting appropriate stories and images

For some reason, people seem to think that getting beneficiaries or field workers to say nice ...

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Published on March 6, 2014 by

Why the donor journey concept sucks

In  discussions about donor nurture and retention, the concept of the donor journey inevitably comes up.

The “traditional” donor journey is often couched in terms of the donor pyramid. That concept of acquiring donors then thanking and welcoming them. Trying to get second gifts. Then getting higher gifts or converting them to monthly giving. Then eventually turning them into major donors or bequestors.

Of course, not every donor follows this exact path. But the general idea is that you try to move donors from their first, often modest, gifts up the donor pyramid to bequests.

But at last week’s FIA ...

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Published on February 20, 2014 by

Get those gifts with this top 7 list of wallet-opening emotions

Each fundraising appeal is different. But I find the following seven emotions excellent for motivating donors through direct mail. That’s both for soliciting gifts or nurturing donors so they will give again in future.

One thing to keep in mind is donors are not always consciously aware of their emotions. Particularly with emotions like number 5, you need to be subtle about how you evoke these feelings in your copy.

Anyway, here goes…

1. Outraged. This is straightforward. Get your donor angry over injustice and they will give. Whether it’s cruelty to animals or human trafficking, outrage is a fundraiser’s ...

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Published on February 5, 2014 by

The No. 1 blunder when using emotion in fundraising

Most fundraisers  understand that using emotions in copy is a good thing.

But with this knowledge comes poor attempts to integrate emotion into fundraising appeals. I could give you a list of mistakes charities make when trying to use emotion.

But most of them stem from one single issue. It's this...

Trying to evoke emotions you want the donor to have... rather than tapping into emotions the donor already has.

Often a charity will talk about how they want the reader to feel after reading an appeal. But that’s backwards.

Because you may end up trying to change how a ...

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Published on February 3, 2014 by

Top 7 posts for 2013… and ask me anything fundraising or copywriting

It’s a little late off the bat (given it’s now February) but Happy New Year to all.

I’m back with a vengeance and have already been working on autumn appeals for several of you. Hence why I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front.

It’s going to be a busy year as I’m working with several new clients – all fantastic causes. Plus I’m looking forward to taking next steps with the old clients too – you all rock! I’m very inspired by all the work you do and am grateful I can be a part of it.

Now ...

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