Donor communications

Published on December 18, 2013 by

Have you ever made these 5 response-killing copy changes?

Last week I received a Christmas appeal I’d written in the mail. I opened the envelope then pulled out the letter and coupon. And my heart sank.

As a copywriter, I may spend hours putting blood, sweat and tears into an appeal pack. (And I’m not exaggerating about the tears – some beneficiaries have gone through horrific things.)

Then I receive the mailed pack with changes that I know will at best reduce response. At worst, it will make the appeal fail.

This doesn’t happen to me often because I encourage my clients to consult me if they wish to ...

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Published on December 13, 2013 by

6 tips to fix your charity home page slider

How can you improve home page slider usability for your donors? (See my last post on how these sliders are hurting your fundraising.)

In fact, this is not just for your donors. But for all key users of your website.

That’s one of the justifications for using sliders. The need to cater for different audiences. So you end up cramming more content for different users into your home page slider.

Instead, this is my advice for dealing with home page sliders.

Tip 1. Turn your slider content into static links or boxes ...

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Published on December 5, 2013 by

Why you should use repeated asks in your fundraising letters

First, I’ll clarify what I mean by repeated asks. I mean the parts of the letter, usually highlighted in some way, that ask donors for a specific dollar amount for a specific purpose.

“June, your $50 gift means we can provide emergency food and shelter to a needy person this winter.”

Such an ask is repeated several times, depending on the length of the letter. The longer the letter, the more asks.

Here are two good reasons to use repeated asks.

1. The rule of seven

You’ve probably heard it said that a person ...

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Published on November 28, 2013 by

Beware these 7 overused fundraising phrases

These fundraising stock phrases have lost much of their punch.

Maybe one day they meant something. But now they’re used interchangeably across charities in different sectors – medical and health, overseas development, disability, youth, welfare. Pretty much any sector involving people.

What are these phrases?

You’ll know them (and their derivatives).

  1. Transforming lives (or changing lives)
  2. Saving lives
  3. Making a difference
  4. Having an impact
  5. Most vulnerable (or disadvantaged)
  6. Poorest of the poor
  7. Brighter future

Doubtless, you can think of more.

They are different to jargon in that they’ve probably been used effectively in the past. Samples of past ...

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Published on October 28, 2013 by

How to write for donor retention (Part 3)

My third “donor gift” is to…

Give your donors respect for their values and opinions

Your donors have views about raising families, unemployment, politics, the environment, social justice and the state of the world.

Acknowledge these views in your copy. By doing so, you show that you respect and understand their concerns about the world they live in.

It also makes you stand out from the bureaucratic corporate speak so often seen in fundraising appeal copy.

And get this – it’s the most important thing I’ll say in this post.

If you can show you have values and views ...

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Published on October 23, 2013 by

How to write for donor retention (Part 2)

Remember, building strong relationships with the donor is a two-way street. They give to you but you also need to give to them.

So here’s my second “donor gift” aimed at giving something meaningful to your donors through your copy. It’s actually a two-in-one, a double feel-good whammy for your donor.

Give the donor a heart-warming moment in their day

and

Give the donor the chance to be a hero

I’m constantly astonished at the speed with which stories spread on social media. Even untrue stories and hoaxes.

You’ve probably seen those tearjerker stories where a hard luck case makes ...

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Published on October 17, 2013 by

How to write for donor retention (Part 1)

Gimme, gimme, gimme. Sometimes, that’s all your donors feel they hear from you.

But what we should really be doing is trying to give as much as we can to the donor.

Over the next few posts I will share some "donor gifts" that will hopefully shift attitudes from “How do we get more out of the donor?” to “How do we give something meaningful to the donor?”

Yes, so the donor feels more connected, emotionally engaged, happy or comfortable about giving to you. That’s how you get donors to give – and then keep giving.

Notice I'm not talking ...

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